3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2012
Life after death is more confusing than life before death? Well isn't that going to be fun? Perhaps it is only more confusing to some, and maybe I won't be one of the "some". Of course, going through that "singularity" thing (sounds much more survivable than "black hole", doesn't it?) might be just a tiny bit terrifying.
Assuming that such a terrifying event does not automatically cause anything more than survivable death, I guess it might be more interesting than the alternative. However, that post-singularity "world" (if such a term has meaning anymore) may mean that the meaning of "life", and the attributes associated with such, may go through significant redefinition.
How does the thought of an electronic Gulliver having the rights of citizenship sit with you? Hadn't thought of it, had you? Neither had I. I also never thought I would need to think about such. Thanks, Mr. Brin. Thanks a lot.
Our main character, a divinity figure who also has undergone some redefinition associated with the concept, is faced with how to deal with a ground-swell movement to add "characters" to the list of entities to be granted citizenship. Such reification could be dangerous since there would be an unlimited number of such and of each.. But, would that be true in a post-singularity existence without normal geographical restraints?
Theological concerns and questions fill this offering of Brin's. We can supply our own answers - or can we? Given that our main guy has already survived the trip through the black hole and we haven't, I guess our frame of reference will be considerably different and our answers skewed by our own comparatively mundane experiences. The hero's campaign to defeat the machinations of the "Friends of the Unreal" is compared with going against a kind of lunacy only available in this new environment.
Recursive simulations mixed with circular arguments mixed with perfect knowledge of actions will lead to conclusions that may be the very best. That mixture may also lead to results that will be the worst possible - only partially trustworthy without knowing which part(s) to trust. Of course, the "Friends" are doing the same with their own artificially created entities and looking for the same type of strategies that will carry the day.
Of course, we may be doing nothing more than acting like that dog chasing his own tail (or is it "tale"?).
This is another brain stretcher from David Brin. Though short in length, it is long in potential significance. Or, it's just fun to contemplate the "what-if" he posits. What if I'm wrong?