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1 April 2005

Charles Stross Attains Posthuman Status

by Paoli du Flippi

At exactly 1:07 PM GMT on March 31, 2005, noted science fiction author Charles Stross ceased his existence as a baseline human being and entered an unknowable posthuman condition.

The precipitating event, as far as experts can determine, was Stross's acquisition of a new Sony PSP game machine.

"Charlie was teetering on the precipice of transhumanism for the whole last year," said his friend and collaborator Cory Doctorow. "His lifestyle and cerebral/neurological capabilities had been ramped up through intensive ideation and selective smart-drug use to an exquisite pitch just short of the Singularity. When he laid his hands on that sweet, sweet hunk of hardware, it provided the critical mass of complexification necessary to tip him over fully into the Extropian ideal condition."

The resulting state-change brought total en-bobblement to an area of several cubic miles surrounding the store where Stross made his climactic purchase. It is presumed that the newly born ineffable deity once known as Stross is localized within the stasis-sphere, but authorities differ over containment theories.

"It is quite possible," said physicist and fellow writer Gregory Benford, "that we will start to see spooky action at a distance, as the Stross entity begins to test its newfound abilities."

The loss of Stross as a baseline human will be felt most keenly in the science fiction community, where he filled the necessary role of bright exemplar of a speculative literature truly adapting itself to the new millennium.

"Charlie's departure," commented Doctorow, "is going to put a heavier load on the shoulders of myself and my similarly wired peers. We'll all have to work harder to write stories that truly reflect the new realities of our information-dense society. And of course, if we're any good at what we do, we risk Charlie's fate. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hell, it's what we've been aiming for all along, right? In fact, I can hardly wait for my own personal nerd apocalypse."

Stross's transformation is the first documented case of Singularity breach, but rumors persist that Australian writer Greg Egan made the emergent leap long ago.

Aussie critic and potential "Spiker" himself, Damien Broderick, comments, "I tried to visit Egan years ago, and found myself stuck in a timelike infinity loop once I got too close to his nominal address. Only the concerted efforts of Stephen Baxter, Vernor Vinge and Greg Bear were able to free me. And even now, all my interior organs remain reversed. I subsist solely on amino acids of alternate chiriality."

Visibly tearful, Doctorow summed up what Stross's departure from the merely human plane means for him and the future of the genre. "I've got no one now to push me to greater heights of geekdom. Charlie is the leet of the leet now, and science fiction will probably revert to mere cyberpunk at best."

Stross is survived by his beloved widow, and by approximately ten thousand partial personalities seeded throughout the internet.


Paoli du Flippi is a frequent contributor to the website.
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