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About Wilbur

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  1. The answer to your query is, "Jeff Fisher was an idiot coach who cut the legs out from under every player and team he ever supervised. You could have substituted a blancmange for Jeff Fisher and still earned as many wins in most seasons."
  2. His books in the Realtime/Bobble series accurately describe the state of the art military research project management (not the technology of the Bobbles, but the processes used and the locations as depicted in the stories) of our Motorola facilities in the late 1980s and 1990s. Unlike many writers, he was a writer who was an actual part of the milieu of scientific experimentation and progress who happened to be a writer, rather than a writer who set his stories in what he thought was a scientific manner. As a result, although there may be other writers whose styles I like or find easier to read than Vinge, there are no other writers whose writing was so utterly absent of errors in describing project management, experimentation, research, or development. The Peace War (1984) Marooned in Realtime (1986)
  3. You might also consider the Vatta's War / Vatta's Peace novels by Elizabeth Moon, wherein the romance between Kylara Vatta and Rafe Dunbarger drives a lot of the tension in the story, as corporate and military forces, familial social influencers, and government agencies all frown on the love between a space admiral and the CEO of the interstellar communications monopoly.
  4. And if we are going to talk about Jack Vance, then you have a long list of books were the protagonist's love or infatuation for another character drives him or her to take on the key action of the story. Some examples include: Sessily Vader - Glawen Clattuc - Wayeness Tam in the three books of the Cadwal Chronicles (Araminta Station, Ecce and Old Earth, and Throy) Adam Reith and Zap 210 in four books of The Planet of Adventure (The City of the Chasch, The Servants of the Wankh, The Dirdir, and The Pnume) Jorjol/Muffin/The Grey Prince, Elvo Glissam and Gerd Jemazse in a love quadrangle with Schaine Madduc in The Gray Prince Jubal Droad and Mieltrude, daughter of Nai the Hever in Maske: Thaery Keep in mind that Jack Vance's romances are the polar opposite of Lois McMaster Bujold's relationship stories. In a Vance novel, the love between X and Y will cause X to board a space ship and become a janitor in a museum in a civilization of ambulatory trees, where X will discover a plot against a sea-faring nation of religious kangaroos and fight a duel to preserve the savings X has accumulated so he or she can return home and marry. However, upon his or her return home, X will find the object of his or her original desire, Y, has become a strident nationalist monk, and will discover he or she actually loves the bank teller who originally loaned him or her the money to emigrate I exaggerate for effect, but still the outline above will STILL not be as weird and roundabout a tale as you will find in any Jack Vance novel.
  5. The Dying Earth has a couple of stories of unrequited or unexpected love, including Etarr and T'sais when Pandalume sends T'sais out of the plane of Embelyon; Shierl and Guyel of Sfere when they are forced into the Museum of Man by the Saponids; and Lith and Liane the Wayfarer near the ruins of Kaiine. Keep in mind that this is a Jack Vance story, so the relationship may be...different...from what you expect.
  6. Walter Jon Williams' Dread Empire's Fall series revolves around the relationship between Caroline Sula and Gareth Martinez. Both Sula and Martinez are fully-realized characters with independent story arcs and motivations that drive their stories. The story line brings them together and apart, and although their relationship is an important part of both of their respective tales, the plot is not necessarily about their relationship.
  7. It would be like shooting an American version of Ghost in the Shell set in Arkansas. Imagine the theme tune ( ), but played on banjos and sung by folks with an Ozark accent.
  8. I really enjoy both Cook's The Black Company books and Erikson's MBOTF, but despite your concise reasoning, as a reader the name changes do not seem to serve any real purpose other than obfuscation.
  9. Why must every character's name change to something different in each new book? What is the point?
  10. One other ironic thought about the Wallace Corporation is that they are really succeeding beyond their expectations in creating sentient beings with self-determination. Both their replicants (eg. K) and their software (eg. Joi) are so fully realized that they rebel against their creator's paradigms and compliance requirements to take their own paths to freedom. Like teenagers exploring their boundaries through rebellious acts, K and Joi both go off the predestinate rails that the Wallace Corporation has laid down for them. My wife reckoned they were like long-time Calvinists suddenly experiencing existentialism at a Wesleyan revival and choosing their own adventure. So while Wallace may not know the ultimate secret to replicant reproductive techniques, and while he may personally be a repellent weirdo in need of a shave and a haircut, he is hell on wheels at making some complex, intelligent artificial organisms. Ten points for style there. Also, I loved the William Gibson Neuromancer-like microsofts that Wallace jacked into his socket to operate his fleet of micro-drones.
  11. We went to the local second-run theater and watched it again, and on the way home we were discussing the historical allegory of the Tyrell / Wallace corporations. The Tyrell corporation created a product (replicants) that turned out to be perceived as negative for society, and is closed by government regulators and goes bankrupt. The Wallace corporation lobbies the government to re-open the replicant market, and proceeds to create larger profits and even greater societal upheaval with their efforts. In the last decade, the banks created a huge economic trap and fell into it themselves (through rehypothecation, mortgage-backed securities, owning rating agencies that rated bad loans as good, front-running the market, etc.), causing a world-wide economic collapse. The government steps in, but because of the regulatory capture of the government compliance institutions, the end result is even larger banks, with even larger liabilities, and even more socialization of risks and privatization of profits while providing even less access to capital for economically productive businesses. My daughter pointed out that the Wallace Corp following the Tyrell Corp is like Julius Caesar following Marius; JC's appeal to the masses was EVEN MORE dangerous to the Roman Republic than was the Marians' previous brand of populism. Also, I noticed for the first time that the garbage-scow ships dropping Los Angeles' garbage onto San Diego (ha! HA!) were straight out of the movie Soldiers. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120157/mediaviewer/rm4180095232
  12. William Gibson has an early quote, "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." I think that this is an overriding theme in cyberpunk, society's and individuals' reaction to the onset of rapidly-changing technology. I first understood this in a concrete way when Motorola started fulfilling contracts to build base stations in various African countries and launching the Iridium satellites. These technologies allowed us to provide people who never had a landline telephone, nor would they ever have been able to afford the infrastructure to obtain such a thing, with hand-held phones that required nothing more than a hand-crank generator to access the internet. And so in the late 90s you would see people all around the world as we traveled around - in Asia, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe - individuals who didn't own a second pair of pants using a mobile phone to read the news or chat with their friends. People were "jacking in" without the need for electrodes. In the 2000s, the wildest fantasies of the cyberpunk authors had all come true. Wall Street finally achieved full regulatory capture of the SEC, and crony capitalism and all its ills destroyed the "widows and orphans" instruments like Chrysler bonds, for instance. The craven reactions to Islamic terrorism such as the TSA turned the Bill of Rights into so much toilet paper. The middle class embraced political decisions that were obviously against their own self-interest, driven by a constant drumbeat of nonsense from both political parties. Corporations accelerated their abuse of the H1-B visa system to comprehensively wipe out an entire generation of American white-collar workers. The "gig economy" turned back 100 years of labor rights won by the early union reforms. "The Sprawl" had come to life, if not exactly as Gibson had written it, at least in all its spiritual reality. The need for more cyberpunk had approached zero - we didn't need warning of what was already here.
  13. This is so very true.
  14. Memorable or relatable or differentiated characters don't seem to be Larry Niven's strong point in the books I have read. He has many interesting ideas, and he can put together a neat plot that covers those ideas, but for me, his characters are replaceable cardboard cut-outs.
  15. If you enjoyed the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold, you might also consider trying either of Elizabeth Moon's series of military / economic space opera. They feature strong, well-written female protagonists, space battles, warring economic systems and hegemonies, and some light romance. Politics, inherited titles, failing institutions, and weird galactic religions lead to space scandal and instability and war in the Familias Regnant stories. Poorly-controlled wormhole transportation systems, loopholes in interstellar communications protocols, and cut-throat economic competition feature in the Vatta's War stories.