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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 20:41:58 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) Silk-23 skidoo

William Ansley quoted me and wrote:
>>Likewise I'm reasonably sure that we can all agree that we are in the
>>bleachers of the arena, and the referees made the call: they said the words
>>(talk of combining two persons), they backed it up with actions (taking out
>>the non-corporeal parts of Silk aged 40-something; transferring in Horn's
>>non-corporeal parts; the download from Mainframe of Silk-23 later on may
>>have been their doing or not, if it happened, that is).
>>The umpires made their call.  This is not ambiguous.
>Now you've lost me. Who are the referees/umpires? And why Silk-*23*?
>I don't mean to be irritating, but I could use some clarification.

The umpires are the Neighbors, the ones who told dying Horn what they were
going to do and then did it.

Why "Silk-23": because, rather than get into the slippery religous "soul in
the machine" line of thinking, I have always taken Wolfe's use of uploading
human consciousness in the Long and Short Sun series in the very straight
new wave/cyberpunk mode.  That is, imho, it is neither "soulful" heavenly,
nor is it a mechanical life-caricature nightmare (this either/or state,
techno-heaven or techno-hell, has been strongly present in the last few
years of YEAR'S BEST SF, fwiw: very current burning issue, at least as far
as YBSF goes).  It is just there, like a Varley brain datastream that could
be beamed into a clone to start-up right at the moment after the scan was
first taken: there is no vital essence to the data, but there may be a copy
limit (only one check out at a time, please).

(OTOH, the visit to Mainframe heaven at the end of Long Sun was a tad
creepy, a shadowy show compared to the near-death experiences Silk had of
ghosts, which seemed a bit more rich and "real" in comparison.)

So, in a sense, Pas is planning a "comeback" tour for his favorite son,
Silk.  The last few decades have not gone well for this ubermensch -- after
a meteoric rise from obscurity ("Silk for Calde'") and a heroic adventure,
well, the whole thing went downhill.  Why not jumpstart the whole thing by
downloading that scan made of Silk at the moment of his glory, when he was
around 23 years old, into the 43 year old body?  Pretend like that
depressing stuff never happened -- reload the hero and get on with the
heroics, without being paralyzed by mid-life depression and shattered

Anyway.  My position has been that Silk-43 brain-data was erased from the
43-year-old Silk body; Horn brain-data was downloaded via the Neighbors
(by-passing the whole monitor mechanism); later on, Silk-23 brain-data was
transferred from Pig to Horn-in-Silk via the eye and the monitor.

That is why "Silk-23" and "if it happened, that is."



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