❴Reading❵ ➷ Metaplanetary Author Tony Daniel – Dailytradenews.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Metaplanetary

  1. says:

    Metaplanetary is an underappreciated gem on so many levels from its depiction of AI love as solving systems of mathematical equations with transfinite values that is, engaging the faculties of the AI to their fullest, leaving room for no spare thought to extraordinary modes of traversing the Solar System via self evolved nanotech based strands full of a breathable, snot like substance from the wry remark that when we abandon our human form for an inorganic carrier, we lose some of our mental flexibility and intuition I wish SF writers delved into these issues we already have plenty of science to tell us it s not nearly as simple as The Matrix had it , to a rumination about closure in the most unlikely of circumstances The book keeps flinging these nuggets at us, in rapid bursts the chapters are usually three to five pages long Occasionally, I found myself wishing it was a bit slower, patient, less ADD esque Most of the time, however, I was thrilled by the pace and variety Reminded me of Alfred Bester in that respect Metaplanetary was recommended to me when I was looking for something on a par with David Zindell s Requiem for Homo Sapiens Zindell s trilogy starting with The Broken God feels complete and well thought out, as does The Golden Age by John C Wright I cannot recommend those two highly enough However, I found Metaplanetary nearly as stimulating Its revelations don t surge over you like tsunamis but rather pinch some dormant parts of your brain and scamper away laughing, to pinch the next ones, while you re still trying to readjust your mindscape.What I didn t like didn t ring true enough to me was the choice of antagonist If we are still that stupid in the 31st century to let a one man or one whatever tyranny rise to the top, then we shouldn t have made it there in the first place Perhaps this part is better read as a parable, a reflection of our past follies and tendencies Director Ames is, for all intents and purposes, a variation on Hitler, Stalin, etc only less human, and thus, less convincing His villainy is over the top yet deliciously so he may not seem very authentic, but he s fun However, it annoys me no end to find such reflections projected into the far future They go in the face of everything we ve already built and learnt along the ladder of our social and humanitarian evolution.Finally, some of my impressions in order of reading This is getting waaaaay wild.Here we are, traveling along a cable from Mercury to Mars and getting a step by step treatment on how the Grand Unification Theory was discovered and why we move from the past to the future, never the other way round Tony Daniel doesn t pull any punches he uses double slit diagrams and language that shows me how rusty my physics has grown So what I would normally wave away as ah, infodumps only rivets my attention even deeper Then again, I was always a sucker for grand theories What next one of the groups, calling itself FUSE the acronym meant something like Mars for Martians in Norwegian Yeah, right Which letter in FUSE stands for Mars in Norwegian Oh c mon dear Mr Author After putting so much effort into your other research, why neglect the linguistics I was about to rail I was about to hurl this book against the Trash Bin I was about to roar, So what, moronic, cretinous, retard infested humanity You still ain t grown up in the 31st century You still solve all your probs by force and war And then came this.And made me sad in a very, very silent way.I still ain t grown up myself This is NOT your light reading fare It just managed to explain the Casimir Effect, in a way that made sense After some thinking So, don t use it to lull yourself to sleep Which begs the question Why am I reading it at this hour This is a roller coaster No, really.First we get this we get a Western style shootout between two free converts AIs , which also happens to be painful and poignant they were once married, and the prize at stake is the life of their child.I really don t know where this Tony Daniel fellow is taking me, but I already like him enough Lead me on, Mr Author Okay, so it s a part of a projected trilogy And the last book is nowhere in sight First of all, I ll postpone reading the second book until there s at least the promise of some progress on the third one These stories are NOT self contained My memory is NOT what it used to be in middle school I could pretty much quote a full paragraph from a Pratchett book then Superluminal goes on the same shelf as the Gentleman Bastard and Imperial Radch Hey, don t be sad it s stellar company Second, and important Dear readers, please buy Tony Daniel s books Especially Metaplanetary and Superluminal It helps publishers make up their minds, you know Alternatively, you may try to convince Mr Daniel to go the Kickstarter way He doesn t sound over excited about it, but hey, this is Goodreads Are we good at making our reads happen, or what But please, don t look at me I ve my hands full right now.


  2. says:

    Actual rating 2.5 stars.Metaplanetary is good old fashioned space opera, scaled to the entire solar system and a bit beyond, taking place approximately 1,000 years from now The inner system, led by evil dictator Ames, is at war with the freedom loving rebels and cloudships of the outer system Exciting stuff Unfortunately it turns out to be the first of a two book deal, and a lot of interesting characters are left hanging from cliffs at the end Will I buy the second book to find out what happens I don t know Why don t I know, you ask Skimming other readers reviews of Metaplanetary, I encounter one comment over and over again, a variation on the theme that the science behind Tony Daniel s future solar system is solid I m not at all certain that is the case Daniel writes of a solar system where all the planets and moons from Mercury out to Mars and some way into the Asteroid Belt are connected by organic snot filled tubes made of nanotech material called grist Thoughts and intelligence travel from one end of the solar system to the other instantaneously, thanks to the pioneering work of 25th century scientist Merced, after whom the interplanetary communications network called the Merci is named.Artificial intelligences called converts there are enslaved converts and free converts, and strong societal prejudices against the free ones can couple with humans ditto strong societal prejudices and produce human plus offspring What distinguishes free converts from Large Array Personalities Ah, the LAPs, you see, are human, with no AI involved You wouldn t mind a LAP moving in next door or taking your daughter out on a date.But that s not all Humans can transform themselves into AIs or free converts, and then, whenever they want to enjoy a cigar or the feel of grass beneath their feet, whip up a physical body out of free floating grist These temporary physical manifestations are called pellicles, as best I can make out Some free converts operate several physical bodies at once, which act independently while staying part of the unifying mind Want immortality Convert yourself into an AI, then back into a younger body made of grist While all this wonderful stuff is going on, simple humans as we know them today populate the moons and planets, content to inhabit one body and die after a short time With all these other possibilities, why would anyone settle for that We never find out, because regular humans are not really part of Tony Daniel s story.Some free converts have migrated beyond the solar system and now live in the Oort Belt or perhaps it is the Carbuncle as giant cloudlike space ships Of course they also slap together grist pellicle bodies from time to time in order to participate in and interfere with regular human affairs Scraps of computer code, floating around since the end of the 20th century, have been made into rats and ferrets they keep the snot tubes clean Regular humans who live on Mercury are Mercury adapted, yet can climb into the nearest tube and pop out on Mars, seemingly with no physical adjustment for gravity, atmosphere, or temperature Or what the fuck, I guess if there s a problem they just turn themselves into spaceships and fly off to Alpha Centauri.You see the problem I m having with Tony Daniel s solid science Right Maybe it is solid, but as Arthur C Clark famously said Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic Tony Daniel might as well be writing about Hogwarts and Harry Potter Having a bit of a problem adapting to life in a methane atmosphere at 4.5 times the pull of earth gravity Just wave your magic pellicle grist wand and say adaptaramus So, will I read Superluminary, the second book of the series Probably But I m going to spend some time in the 21st century first I ll get back to Tony Daniel s space opera in a few months.


  3. says:

    More like 4.5 stars, Metaplanetary starts and ends slowly and unevenly That middle though, probably pages 100 to 450, is a tremendous blend of old school sci fi, new and improved technobabble, and philosophy of science on par with Neal Stephenson.Metaplanetary is the first of several novels that essentially questions sentience Daniel writes a highly evolved form of the solar system similar to that of James S.A Corey s Expanse where everything inside the Kuiper Belt is connected by a fantastic reticulated system of tubes, much like a giant spiderweb Mercury controls most of the wealth of the solar system, while Earth has essentially become a nature preserve for vacations On the other side, Humans have adapted to live on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn and on Pluto But than that, Humans have transcended flesh and become living ships that have gone even farther out, into the Oort Cloud AI has also achieved sentience in a number of degrees such that there are non corporeal computer programs that create and mother flesh children The conflict is with a human who wishes to stop all Large Array Personalities a flesh AI hybrid that has evolved to exist in multiple places at multiple times in different aspects for different purposes That he wishes to exploit this for his own gain goes without saying Daniel s villain is a mustache twirler, but he doesn t give much in the way of justification that would make for any amount of sympathy The story suffers, somewhat, for being so black and white.The beginning takes a good long while to get into, not least because the first chapter is religious prophecy that doesn t much figure into the rest of the novel until the bitter end It reminded me of nothing so much as the beginning of Anathem, where you just take things on faith knowing eventually it will all make sense And it does The end also slows down entirely too quickly, as if Daniel realized too late he d be writing a series and had no good ideas about where to break the book to both maintain momentum for a series and conclude the book in a way that satisfied as a stand alone tale New but old and different but emotional resonant same and worth a shot


  4. says:

    One of the best hard SF books I ve read in years Not an easy read Had to think Had to think a lot It was so much better than the mental mush so many SF authors are serving these days.That said, Daniel squeezed and awful lot of science and back story into 437 pages Created a full, rich scientific and historical path from this world to his over the next several centuries Some of it approaches fantasy, but he gave us hard if fanciful development for it.The ending felt like the set up for a sequel.


  5. says:

    I hate cliffhangers I don t mind them on TV series when I am watching the whole thing on DVD and can go straight to the next season But even though I knew Metaplanetary was the first of a two part series, I expected some resolution at the end that would set the stage for what comes next For instance, I read Red Mars and was totally satisfied with the story so far, and I may well read Mars Green and Blue because I know they will take the saga of colonization into new levels Metaplanetary turns out to be a 437 page build up to another 500 page novel Lots of things blow up, but no character arcs are resolved and ready to develop in new directions In fact, characters that appear to be major disappear for 200 pages, and plot threads that on one level promised to drive the story get dropped until the last few pages where they reappear as welcome reminders, at least for me, because I had or less forgotten them.What is fully realized in Daniel s novel is the world humans inhabit in the year 3000 Human beings now come in three parts There is the aspect, which is you with all the squishy parts inside Your convert is an algorithmic version of yourself that can take care of business in the virtuality And the pellicle mediates between aspect and convert Your pellicle is filled with grist, a nanotechnological construct that allows for the immediate transfer of information wherever it exists, and since it has been dispersed essentially everywhere, you can access information and other people from anywhere It s like you are your own iPhone Grist is most abundant when you stay within the Met, a system of space cables that connect the inner planets and house most of the human population Beyond the asteroid belt are the Outer Planets, where like pioneers everywhere the population tends to be a bit pluckier and not inclined to follow orders I confess I could not have written any of the above without resorting to the Appendixes that come at the end of Superluminal, the second book in the series Their presence there suggests that the author thought readers might need a refresher course after the three years that separated their publications I could have used it very 20 pages or so in the first novel alone And then there is the plot The solar system is about to enter a Civil War Wait, maybe I should mention the other human options that include Cloudships, humans who have transformed themselves into moon sized spacecraft and float around beyond Pluto, and Free Converts, artificial intelligences that have never had a bodily source It is the status of Free Converts that provides one excuse for the upcoming war, which of course is really just a power grab by one Ames, ex composer turned ruler of the Met who has his eye on the entire solar systems Ames had an abusive childhood and as an adolescent masturbated while sticking splinters under his fingernails Just the type to someday want to control the solar system.Having spent the last year or so reading mostly mid century sf, Metaplanetary made me realize how little real action there had been in most of the books I read As Philip K Dick suggests, a science fiction story should ask a what if question and then pursue it to its end, which is what people were doing between 1950 and 1970 Metaplanetary is a post Star Wars novel, filled with chases, battles, and narrow escapes It s fun while it lasts, but I don t want to have read another 500 pages to find out what happens But maybe that s what readers like now After all, it took six films to tell the Star Wars story The fact that they got progressively worse does not bode well for all multi volume sf that is currently on the the market.


  6. says:

    Interesting I read this book after I read the sequel, but I like this one better The sequel assumes too much about this book.Metaplanetary is about how a civil war occurred in the solar system One side wanted to create a sort of hive mind, and the others wanted to stay individuals Also, the first group didn t believe in the humanity of self aware AIs, and the other felt that the were fully human.The book doesn t quite work as an adventure story, or as space opera, but it has some big ideas that are worth thinking about.


  7. says:

    Well, darn This was very good, but I didn t realize until the end that it s only the first of an intended trilogy, one that will never be completed since the publisher didn t make enough money So while ordinarily I d be jumping gungho to the 2nd book, I m going to stop now, it will just be too frustrating.


  8. says:

    Metaplanetary, by Tony Daniel Eos, 2001 Dense, complex, intricate, hard SF, good and fun I enjoyed this a lot than I expected Very far in the future There are three sets of human civilization the Met, the inner planets to the asteroid belt, connected by huge, semi sentient cables, one large, swarming, unified society the outer planets, independent minded, not as wealthy, fractious and a bit ornery the cloudships, immense craft that are living beings Swarming through it all is the grist which, as far as I can figure, is quadrillions of bits of information that permeate the worlds There are biological humans, humans with multiple personalities spread over great distances, virtual beings that can be part biological, part virtual, and free converts being that exist entirely in cyberspace but capable of having fully connected lives with biological humans, and to have children with them I think Anyway, a genius in the Met, starting first as a brilliant composer, has decided that he knows what is best for existence and sets out first, to gain control of the Met, and then to conquer the outer worlds They don t even realize they are being attacked until they are Lots and lots of interesting characters, a lot of science way beyond quantum theory I look forward to reading the sequel, Superluminal.


  9. says:

    Metaplanetary and I have a bit of an odd history I picked up a copy of the paperback in a tiny bookstore in Acadia National Park back in 2002 After reading the whole thing in basically two days, I desperately wanted to find the sequel, with the rear cover promised had come out already Of course it hadn t and it would be another there years before Superluminal would see the light of day, and in the meantime I forgot about the whole thing Going back to Metaplanetary hasn t quite lived up to my expectations, but the book is still a solid piece of soft science fiction science fantasy with one of the most interesting core concepts I ve come across.Metaplanetary attempts to be told as a pseudo scholarly war record assembled by an off screen narrator The chapters progress through the events leading up to a war between the Inner and Outer solar system regions, with each chapter containing the personal recollections of various involved individuals These narratives are punctuated by scholarly documents attributed to various in universe authors, describing the history, politics and technology of the setting.There are too many narrating characters to summarize here, but the general shape of the story is that of a dictator, Am s, seizing control of the Met or Inner solar system through charisma and a vision of a greater human race Am s true goal is a literal interpretation of Human Instrumentality, reducing the entire human race to instruments that he can then play But the increasing population of the Met who lack a physical Aspect, the Free Converts, are inadvertently preventing Am s from realizing his goals, so he starts rounding them up and dumping them into digital concentration camps This breach of basic human rights riles up the Outer System governments and sets the stage for a system wide war.At the core of Metaplanetary s appeal is the concept of the Met Rather than try to colonize planets, the humans of this future chose to inhabit the spaces between worlds by using a kind of elaborate space elevator The advent of quantum computing nanotech, called Grist, allowed humanity to spin a web of flexible but functionally unbreakable cables between the inner planets, which were then expanded to allow habitation There s a lot of technobabble silliness involved in this explanation, and the whole concept seems a little under thought, whatcha gonna do about cables going through the sun but it is an interesting version of space expansion, and one that certainly has some merit on the small scale Daniel also opts to have his future not terraform the inner planets, and instead use advanced nanotech to bioform humans to live in the extreme environments of Venus and Mercury, as well as naked vacuum It s a fascinating approach which conserves resources, as long as you assume that people only get adapted to their home planets.Daniel does have a lot going for him in the creative science department, but he also commits some rather egregious crimes against common sensibility While his explanation for the detection of Gravitons is both interesting and slightly plausible, his description of those elementary particles as both sentient and actively opposed to entropy shoves the whole novel off the hard science cliff and into the murky waters of science fantasy His descriptions of AIs and quantum computing are also somewhat suspect To his credit, he does reference some of the fundamental experiments that helped establish quantum mechanics and uses them correctly, or close enough not to matter.Moving back to the narrative, I think there are a few too many characters floating around for the story to really get moving A lot of time is spent with a typical family on Mercury to establish some of the socio political aspects of Met life, but then Daniel pushes too far and starts making the 11 year old daughter into an ad hoc freedom fighter The book also seems to single a character named TB out as the core protagonist, but then he gets knocked unconscious about a third of the way in and we almost never hear from him again Some of this is meant to be picked up in the sequel, but it still comes off as sloppy.The action sequences are handled well, except for some minor unrealistic space combat elements The book also seems to be assuming that the outer planets are in near perfect alignment, which doesn t really happen that often, but there s no other explanation for the utter disregard for travel times And when the second book explicitly establishes the non existence of superluminal travel, all of Metaplanetary s time tables start to break down a bit.In spite of my nit picking, I really do recommend Metaplanetary as a stand alone novel Yes, you re going to have some loose ends because of the sequel lead in cliffhanger, but as you ll see when I get to my review of Superluminal next week, you re really better off just making up your own ending Just ooh and aah at the interesting concepts and try to enjoy the ride.


  10. says:

    i ve always had a soft spot for SF where the author has decided that as they re going to play fast and loose with the laws of physics, they might as well go large Tony Daniel s Metaplanetary is such The Met of the title is a vast network of space elevators, cables, tethers and bolas made from a quantum nanotech stratum called grist And when I say vast, I mean VAST stretching all the way from Mercury to beyond the orbit of Mars Of course the various cables aren t actually permanently tied together or to the planets and satellites of the inner Solar System, but there are constantly changing temporary connections and conjunctions which make the Met effectively a subway network for the inner system It s also a habitat in its own right too, and the nano tech grist which makes the Met possible also, inter alia, provides an instantaneous as in FTL instantaneous communications network and a substrate for fully immersive VR and AI this last part is important it s not just humans living in virtuality as much as actuality sometimes as Large Arrays of Personas inhabiting multiple clone or virtual bodies throughout the Met, there are also free converts , AIs based originally on human personas who can nonetheless have children, even physical children with physical humans I suspect that Daniel gives us a nod to the total bonkersness of his creation by naming the Earth Moon cable as Aldiss what else but he does throw up some fairly detailed quantum mechanical theory of everything explanations which pass this liberal arts graduate turned code monkey s smell test at least Good SF should require the willing suspension of disbelief, and after some initial WTF on my behalf, I found myself doing so quite comfortably.Mr Daniel sensibly eschews making his creation the star of the book, keeping it firmly as the setting, albeit retaining an important role Unfortunately something is rotten in the state of the Met, the inner system having fallen into the clutches of the satisfyingly Orwellian named Department of Immunity and its leader, the enigmatic and sadistic Director Am s Am s is unequivocally a monster, but Daniel stops short just enough of rendering him as two dimensional caricature, yet keeps him, for now, as something of a cipher not even his closest confidants really know much about him We learn, though, that Am s was originally a musical prodigy, and it is his desire to play all of humanity as his instrument This means subjugating the last remaining free communities in outer Solar System, so an all out blitzkrieg is underway before too long There s also the cloudships, sentient starships yes they can reach Centauri and other nearby stars who were originally, centuries ago, flesh and blood human How they decide to act may be what settles the fate of the human race.Every good dictator needs a minority to scapegoat of course, and in Am s s case it s the AI free converts who are rounded up to be virtually worked to death through not being given time to run daily garbage collection routines in a virtual concentration camp on Mars The ones so exhausted are perhaps the lucky ones, as some are selected for some truly horrific experiments, and sadly one such is one of the compelling characters we encounter.It is the strength of the characters that makes this novel worth reading we really start to care what happens to them, and Mr Daniel takes care to ensure that even the antagonists are not straight out of central casting bad guys The setting is both novel and well conceived and both necessary yet not overly obtrusive My main complaint is that this is not a self contained member of a trilogy but rather the first part of a longer single work I shall be proceeding onto the next part, Superluminal , forthwith, but I am really hoping for some resolution there as I understand the final part failed to find a publisher.


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Metaplanetary download Metaplanetary, read online Metaplanetary, kindle ebook Metaplanetary, Metaplanetary 1ba8ec1a6d71 The Human Race Has Extended Itself Into The Far Reaches Of Our Solar System And, In Doing So, Has Developed Into Something Remarkable The Inner System Of The Met With Its Worlds Connected By A Vast Living Network Of Cables Is Supported By The Repression And Enslavement Of Humanity S Progeny, Nanotechnological Artificial Intelligences Whom The Tyrant Am S Has Declared Non Human But The Longing For Freedom Cannot Be Denied And Now A Line Has Been Drawn At Neptune S Moon Triton, Where Those Who Oppose Ame S And Hisfearsome Minions Await The Foretold Return Of A Mysterious Man Of Destiny And Doom Who Has Vanished Into The Backwater Of The Met But Resistance Will Only Ensure The Unspeakable Onslaught Of The Dictator S Wrath A Rage That Will Soon Ravage The Solar System And Plunge All Of Humankind Into The Fury Of Total War