Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Qubit Conflicts... already mentioned in several parts of the blogosphere. Gotta love the kind of almost instantaneous feedback that the internet provides (while I do miss holding the physical product of an anthology or magazine, like the last paper version of HUB, although there will be a chapbook, and hopefully an anthology, as well).

Paul Raven quite liked it (so much that he congratulates me "on writing a story that I don't feel the need to pick holes in." Luckily this was followed by a winking smiley). Jeremy Tolbert seems to have enjoyed it as well, and muses about (one of) its implications.

On the other hand, David de Beer doesn't like it at all: "I don't understand the point of this." Fair enough: I expect people will not like, or even hate this story. He also mentions:

I also don't understand the point of writers trying to be obscure and not trying to engage as many readers as possible. Is it that much fun to write only for an eclectic audience?

Sometimes a writer -- especially an SF writer, I like to think -- wants to push boundaries. Imagine something that hasn't been imagined before. Often, the price of this is that the resulting story is not really for the greatest common denominator, but indeed for 'an eclectic audience'. And I had great fun writing this one.

However, I cannot decide if it succeeds: I must leave that up to others, as a writer cannot judge his/her own story. Therefore, I appreciate every comment, negative or positive. Do keep them coming!

Update: Jörn Grote of the entropy pump seems to think that, if I didn't quite succeed, I made an interesting effort.

Update 2: Paul Jessup says it's "the first time I enjoyed a scifi story in a long time".

Update 3: On the Not If You Were the Last Short Story on Earth LJ Community, Random Alex seems to like it. Money shot: "And somehow, de Vries gets ennui and pathos in there too."

Update 4: In his Tangent Online review, Ben Payne seems to say that it's not really his cup of tea.

Update 5: Joe Sherry thinks: "Maybe Qubit Conflicts is a bit meta for me."

Update 6: Pete Tennant (one of his many bylines is proofreading for Interzone, and he was kind enough to proofread "Qubit Conflicts" for me, as well) says at Whispers of Wickedness: "...that at the sentence level whole stretches of the story could just as easily have been written in a foreign language, but regardless of that the overarching structure of the story made perfect sense."
And yes, that is a compliment.

Update 7: Lois Tilton at the Internet Review of Science Fiction recommended it (you need to register to see the review). In the spirit of the story itself, the review is concise:

Quantum theory can be understood either as mathematics or as metaphor. Here, de Vries uses math as part of a metaphor to tell the story of the evolution of quantum artificial intelligence into a solipsistic singularity.

Cleverly Done.


Update 8: in Literary Reviews 35, the reviewer thinks that "...Mr. De Vries’s writing within the story is so arcane—[...]—that I at times yearned for the services of an English-to-English language translator." Clarkesworld magazine in general is compared to "...a painting deemed to be a “masterpiece of modern art” that had hung upside down in a museum for two years before anyone noticed." Finally: success!

Update 9: A reaction from a blogger in India: Variety SF rates it a 'C' (which in the site's rating system means 'Time Waster', and Blindsight received the same rating. Hi, Pete!), saying the reviewer feels quite disconnected with most modern stories the reviewer has read on AI, because they are not easy to identify with.

Indeed! Welcome to tomorrow: the strange, dislocated, dizzying feeling you are experiencing is called FutureShock(s). There is no cure, as things will only get weirder and weirder, even in India.


Anonymous said...

I read the story twice and I liked it on my first read and enjoyed it even more on my second. I've always appreciated cosmic-level stories that explain the nature of existence and this one couldn't get any "bigger"; I also thought the language was tremendous fun: e.g., "the intrigants pierced through our solipsistic stupor, formed a strong antidote against the philosophical superposition of opinions, and tore through the extra-dimensional self-reinforcing harmonics."
--Mercurio D. Rivera

Jetse de Vries said...

Doesn't that sentence look enormously 'over-the-top', out of context?

Like a lot of writers, I'm a bit like a pendulum swinging between extremes: sometimes I think what I wrote is the best thing since the invention of the wheel, and sometimes I cringe at the thought of having written it, thinking it should never have seen the light of day.

Supposedly the truth lies somewhere in between...

Jörn said...

I liked that it was over-the-top, better than being too mundane. On the topic of accessibility, I thought this was rather easy to read and understand.