Thursday, 21 August 2014

Axis City Politics

Greg Bear, Eon (London, 2002).

Axis City politics are fast and complicated with a confusing combination of constitutional and unconstitutional maneuvers. While leading a revolt, the incarnate Corprep Rosen Gardner creates four partials to coordinate activities in different locations and also sends an assigned ghost to watch the terrestrial who have entered the Thistledown.

During the revolt:

militant factioners hold strategic transport sites;
orthodox Naderites and Korzenowski factioners consolidate insurrectionary gains;
sympathizers in City Memory oversee interdicted communications nets;
a counterinsurrectionary vote is declared invalid both because it was called by a partial, not an incarnate, and because it lacked a quorum of incarnate senators and corpreps;
the returning President sends a partial to pict with Gardner.

I summarize this not because I expect it to be understood (I don't understand it all) but to convey something of the intriguing complexity. However, while reading about the Axis City conflict, we:

recognize political maneuvering;
realize that we do not understand how the technology works;
but deduce its effects from the terminology used to describe it.

Stoner technology manipulates consciousness, e.g.:

partials and ghosts are temporary minds able to speak for their incarnates;
brains can be programmed;
personalities can be merged;
personalities preserved in City Memory are incorporeal but somehow conscious;
a man who lost half his brain when shot in the head is resurrected but with some memory loss and also with some new psychological features.

(Fortunately, he retains enough early memories to maintain his sense of identity and continuity.)

This is modern sf, incorporating but transcending space exploration. I would prefer more about the experience of resurrection and less about Jarts. 

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