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Klarok194 karma

Actually, as an emergency call responder, you should do an AMA for sure. There are a lot of misconceptions about what actually happens when an emergency call gets placed.

Klarok8 karma

Hi David

Thank you very much for doing this AMA. I'm sorry that it didn't get the attention it deserved but hopefully you'll be able to respond to some of the questions that may appear now that the AMA is properly highlighted. Maybe you could get back to them tomorrow, I know I'll check back!

Anyway, I am a definite fan of your works and Kil'n People is my favourite book. I loved the mystery set in a world where personal time is not a scarce commodity. It intrigued me greatly so I do thank you for the entertainment. Of course I loved the Uplift books as well - the first trilogy more so than the second which I found somewhat more dry and less exciting than the first.

Anyway, on to the questions if you have time:

  • You've done some excellent work and thinking on SETI. What are your thoughts on the ideas espoused in Orson Scott Card's Ender series which looked at the possibility of "varelse", an alien species which was so foreign that we could never communicate with them? (Apologies if you haven't read it but the short summary should give you the basic idea)
  • There have been a lot of 'solutions' proposed to the Fermi Paradox. One of the most interesting (to me) was proposed by Charles Stross that species stayed close to their stars of a post Singularity conversion of much of their solar system's mass to computronium. What idea(s) do you find most compelling that explain the Fermi Paradox?
  • What are your opinions on the concept common to many novels of future society that reputation will eventually become currency?

Thanks in advance!

Klarok7 karma

Is that what YOU want

Absolutely not :) I read Ender's Game and, because I can't read just one book of a series, read through the rest of them. Ender's Shadow was also very good but on the whole I didn't really appreciate the other books.

I can't comment on the dating habits of SoCal mallrats but I did find that the varelse concept of those books to be extremely far fetched. I believe that we are far more likely to have difficulties with species that we can communicate with but who have fundamentally different universe views (as you describe in Startide Rising) or reproductive strategies (as in Mote in God's Eye). The idea that two starfaring races could never communicate just doesn't seem plausible.

The only way it could be possible for a complete inability to communicate is if each species did not even recognise the other as life; which would hark back to the Skylark series (from EE Smith) and the beings made from pure energy. At that point it wouldn't really be an inability to communicate but more a lack of realisation that communication was even possible - probably akin to how contemporary humans don't bother to try to talk to bacteria.

What I want are more books like Kil'n People where an author says "what if" then builds a detailed world to explore that question. It's that type of SF that keeps me hooked and one that has been a theme in many of your books.

Klarok5 karma

Thanks! When I'm not at work (Aussie here), I'll head on over.

Klarok4 karma

Everyone will see the answer that you write (if you choose to respond) because this is still the main thread of the AMA. Reddit, by default, sorts comments by "best" which is a fairly complex algorithm that tries to prioritise points with the most upvotes while also pushing older entries down further.

So basically I posted the most recent set of questions (that haven't yet received any upvotes) and that's why they appear lower ranked.