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Old 12-08-2015, 12:26 PM   #31
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Default Re: The best Transhuman scii-fi novels?

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Both Eloi and Morlocks are, if anything, Homo inferior.
I don't have time to engage with your other points right now, but aren't most fictional Homo Superiors seriously inferior? If nothing else they can't seem to act in a pragmatic manner that achieves their own survival. Simple things like not going on a killing spree seem to be beyond their grasp.
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Old 12-09-2015, 05:35 PM   #32
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Default Re: The best Transhuman scii-fi novels?

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I don't have time to engage with your other points right now, but aren't most fictional Homo Superiors seriously inferior? If nothing else they can't seem to act in a pragmatic manner that achieves their own survival. Simple things like not going on a killing spree seem to be beyond their grasp.
That was the case on SyFy's PREY, but the Tomorrow People were actually obligate pacifists, weren't they?
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:28 AM   #33
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The Creatures of Man by Howard L. Myers has some transhuman elements. Everyone has implants that allow them to fly at hypersonic speeds and travel a thousand lightyears in shorts and a t-shirt. Is a Baen free book so download and read.e
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:26 PM   #34
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That was the case on SyFy's PREY, but the Tomorrow People were actually obligate pacifists, weren't they?
I agree their are exceptions. But most Homo Superiors seem to be like Khan Noonien Singh, they know they are superior so they grab for control killing whoever stands in the way. An evil Homo Superior with a little common sense would make a nice change. Why can the risk of a war of conquest when you can simply make scads of money and buy your way into the power structure?

A Homo superior that acts like Khan Noonien Singh is an easy target. A Homo superior who acts like Lex Luthor in Ozymandias mode would be a real threat. Heck, given that Ozymandias con game was going to blow-up spectacularly, and lead to nuclear war, Adrian Alexander Veidt was a deadly Homo superior however you slice it.

But my point is, could we at least have a few Homo superiors that act like they've read the Evil Overlord List?
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:53 PM   #35
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I agree their are exceptions. But most Homo Superiors seem to be like Khan Noonien Singh, they know they are superior so they grab for control killing whoever stands in the way. An evil Homo Superior with a little common sense would make a nice change. Why can the risk of a war of conquest when you can simply make scads of money and buy your way into the power structure?
Are you basing this on media Homo superior?

There are two different points to be made about this idea.

First, there is the claim that was put forth, for example, in Odd John: That men cannot have any moral rights or moral claims against supermen, any more than apes can have them against men. There is a sequence where John and his companions use their mental influence to get an entire island of Polynesians to commit mass suicide, to clear the island for a superhuman colony; the human narrator is shocked and horrified, but ultimately accepts the argument that these are a higher order of beings, with moral insight superior to his, and if they say it was morally justified, then it must be so, even if he can't see it. The implied argument seems to be that supermen owe loyalty to their own species, but not to lesser species. Or as Jefferson Airplane put it (in a slightly modified quotation from John Wyndham): In loyalty to their kind/They cannot tolerate our minds/In loyalty to our kind/We cannot tolerate their obstruction.

Second, there is the tactical or strategic issue: Is it prudent for supermen to wage open war against men? Odd John actually addresses this one, too: In the end the island colony decides to commit suicide, since the only alternative is to wage war against the entire human race, and many years of such war would leave them too degraded and coarsened to pursue their proper tasks, even supposing they could win.

(I myself don't buy the first argument; I think that all beings that are able to understand an appeal to moral considerations are moral equals. On the other hand, I can grant it as a Wellsian "one impossible assumption.")

I'd also note that this is a discussion of naturally appearing supermen, rather than of transhumans created deliberately by human agency. The ethical arguments may not be interchangeable.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:00 PM   #36
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Are you basing this on media Homo superior?

There are two different points to be made about this idea.

First, there is the claim that was put forth, for example, in Odd John: That men cannot have any moral rights or moral claims against supermen, any more than apes can have them against men. There is a sequence where John and his companions use their mental influence to get an entire island of Polynesians to commit mass suicide, to clear the island for a superhuman colony; the human narrator is shocked and horrified, but ultimately accepts the argument that these are a higher order of beings, with moral insight superior to his, and if they say it was morally justified, then it must be so, even if he can't see it. The implied argument seems to be that supermen owe loyalty to their own species, but not to lesser species. Or as Jefferson Airplane put it (in a slightly modified quotation from John Wyndham): In loyalty to their kind/They cannot tolerate our minds/In loyalty to our kind/We cannot tolerate their obstruction.

Second, there is the tactical or strategic issue: Is it prudent for supermen to wage open war against men? Odd John actually addresses this one, too: In the end the island colony decides to commit suicide, since the only alternative is to wage war against the entire human race, and many years of such war would leave them too degraded and coarsened to pursue their proper tasks, even supposing they could win.

(I myself don't buy the first argument; I think that all beings that are able to understand an appeal to moral considerations are moral equals. On the other hand, I can grant it as a Wellsian "one impossible assumption.")

I'd also note that this is a discussion of naturally appearing supermen, rather than of transhumans created deliberately by human agency. The ethical arguments may not be interchangeable.
Given that this is the same period of history and cultural strata that turned Marxism into Leninism and invented Fascism, making the wrong moral answer seems typical for the period. I agree that a REAL Homo Superior could understand ethics. I could also see a real Homo Superior who needed power for some legitimate reason finding nondestructive ways to get power. I object to all the lame so-called HOMO SUPERIORS that act like pathetic dweebs.
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:01 AM   #37
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Just about anything Vernor Vinge has written, with the Ann Leckie ANCILLARY series coming up, though it is debatable whether the Leckie novels actually give a favorable presentation of transhumanism.

Greg Bear's EON series is good, as are his other works like BLOOD MUSIC and STRENGTH OF STONES, though again the transhumanist message is not always supportive, if that's what you are asking.
Sorry to use this new thread instead of starting my own, but
does anyone have a write-up of Breq in GURPS terms?

I am interested in playing a 1000cp character for a pretty drawn-together
kind of setting (In Space!™️)

Force field-DR, ETS, a high Guns-skill and Ambidexterity seem a given.
Quirk-wise Odious personal habit (hums music) [-5cp] and/or distintive
sounds/Noisy [at least 1 level, -2cp each] / Disturbing-Singing-Voice-as-a-Quirk
seem to fit?

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Old 12-23-2017, 03:39 AM   #38
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I'm just going to quote the Wikipedia intro for a couple:
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Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future (1930) by the British author Olaf Stapledon. A work of unprecedented scale in the genre, it describes the history of humanity from the present onwards across two billion years and eighteen distinct human species, of which our own is the first.
and another of his works:
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Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon (1937). The book describes a history of life in the universe, Star Maker tackles philosophical themes such as the essence of life, of birth, decay and death, and the relationship between creation and creator. A pervading theme is that of progressive unity within and between different civilizations. Some of the elements and themes briefly discussed prefigure later fiction concerning genetic engineering and alien life forms.
Any of the Culture novels by Iain M Banks.
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #39
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Second the motion on the Culture novels!
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:53 PM   #40
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Given that this is the same period of history and cultural strata that turned Marxism into Leninism and invented Fascism, making the wrong moral answer seems typical for the period. I agree that a REAL Homo Superior could understand ethics.
Understand them, yes. The question would be less their 'ethics' than their 'morals'. There's a difference.

The truly unnerving aspect of genuine supermen would be that they might apply the same morals we believe in accordance with the superior perceptions to produce results that might be objectively right, but that we would find horrifying.

Frank Herbert, in a letter to John Campbell, once used the example of a human and a horse. A horse might be too badly hurt to recover, all that lies ahead of him is a slow, painful death, so the human mercifully puts a bullet in him now to make it quick. (Or something on those lines, it's been a long time since I read it.)

Herbert's point was that the horse, if it could grasp what was being decided, would almost surely disagree with the decision, esp. if it could not comprehend why there was no hope of survival or improvement. The human might well be right about the suffering involved, but the horse can't comprehend that, all it knows (to the degree it knows anything) is that it's being killed by its master.

The same dynamic might well apply to the interactions of true supermen and men. It's hard to portray believably (because supermen are hard to portray believably), but this does show up in fiction here and there. I mentioned Frank Herbert, this dynamic animates the Dune stories at a deep level, especially with the character of Leto Atreides the Second. He's a true superman, and his actions are intended for the best interest of the human race in general, and he may well be entirely right about that. He's still a horror from the basic human POV in many ways.

Herbert even has Leto II comment at one point that beings like himself (there have been others, he's just the greatest of them) have never much cared whether mortals agree with the decisions they make about them or for them, because they know better than we do what is best.

Insufferably arrogant? Yes....except that Leto is very probably right. He really is a superman.

Another example is the Arisians from the old Lensman space operas, who are far greater supermen. They are sort of benevolent. They have enough power to do just about anything, by human standards. But they can, and will, sit back and let billions be tortured or die, nations fall, worlds burn, in service of a larger long term good. They sat back let world-wrecking nuclear wars devastate Earth at least twice. They let a race of psychic vampires torture uncounted Velantians to death, generation after generation after generation. They sat back and let the bad guys cause everything from the Holocaust to Pol Pot to Nero to interplanetary wars. Multiply that by millions of worlds all over two galaxies.

They have good reasons...from the POV of a race of god-like supermen. From a mortal POV, the Arisians could easily look demonic.
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