Tribute to Iain Banks

Look To Windward

“In the year twenty-five twenty-five,
if Man is still alive,
if Woman has survived,”
what will they find? ……….

The Future of Humanity
in cryogenic trinity,
one body plus two heads,
the players of games;
dead philosophers
embedded in coffers of liquid nitrogen,
state of the art cryonics from Alcor,
Foundation of Life Extension.
Inversion.  Excession.
The equations of thought
have brought
the mind algebraists
re-awakening here
from their factory of ice
to amniotic somnolence;
inviolate, once in this watery place,
chambered aboard the Phlebas.
Free us, free us
the three-in-one cry
in the vacuum of dark-matter space.


Mind-states uploading,
freeloading with TOR,
the aitchless thunderer,
the onion router;
the core of inter-galactic-nets,
the placental domain,
a nexus, a secretive matrix of nodes,
encrypted, decrypted,
and layered again and again;
threading through the universe;
the rhyme of reason undisturbed
by thought police;
pledging revenge in
the Feersum Endjinn,
without the use of weapons  ……….

What would he think, Iain Banks?
Is this the sinking future of humanity?
Would he look to windward?
Would he see a story there?
Threads of tales entwining the mind,
unwinding and ravelling,
imagination travelling
for the narrator of our time.

RIP Iain Banks.


9th June 2013Notes:  Three headlines today which I’ve merged into a tribute to Iain Banks:  “Iain Banks dies of cancer aged 59.”  Author Ken MacLeod paid tribute to Banks, saying “he brought a wonderful combination of the dark and the light side of life and he explored them both without flinching.  He brought the same degree of craft and skill and commitment to his science fiction as he did to his mainstream fiction and he never drew any distinction in terms of his pride in what he was doing.”  “The Tor system: Welcome to the dark internet where you can search in secret.”  Pioneered in 2002 by the US Navy for protecting government communications and soon adopted by techies across the world, the Tor software system has built a reputation as the “dark internet” – an ungoverned and seemingly ungovernable space where web users can surf with complete anonymity.  “Three senior Oxford University academics will pay to be deep frozen when they die so they could one day be ‘brought back to life’.”  They are lead researchers at the Future of Humanity institute.  One neuroscientist said that he was hoping that in 100 to 200 years time technology may have developed to revive him and ‘cure him of whatever killed him’.  He added: ‘I would wake up in an entirely new world and that prospect is very exciting.’  He admitted that life with just a head would be ‘limited’, but said he hoped by that point technology would allow for his personality and memories to be downloaded onto a computer.

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