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Winning friends and influencing people
A publisher that I will not name to avoid improving their google hits has just spammed rasfw with an announcement that --

Say, why should I help an author whose publisher spams one of my favourite groups? Let's Rot13 this --

Qnivq E. Cnyzre'f Genpxvat, gur ybat-qrynlrq frdhry gb Rzretrapr, vf svanyyl pbzvat bhg.

As I recall, Cnyzre's career arc was one promising but flawed novel followed by a nearly unreadable novel followed by nothing for a quarter of a century. Now, I can think of other SF authors with long periods in which they published nothing (Donald Kingsbury took a quarter century off after The Ghost Town, for example) so it's possible that Genpxvat will turn out to be a work of genius. Pity his publisher decided to poison the well by spamming.

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I am woefully under-read, sigh.

Langford Basilisk -- I'd never hear of them, so I Googled them and immediately, pickles without lamented occidental Custer’s stapler.

But, seriously: -- the first thing the available information made me think of, was A.E. Van Vogt's The War Against The Rull, since the main weapon the evyle Rull use in their infiltration and extermination of human worlds, is a kind of rune which causes a braincrash.

You've got me wondering whether Mr. Langford got his idea for the Basilisks, from a vague memory of Van Vogt's Rull, -- a faint notion left tickling at the back of his mind, slowly and increasingly seducing his sensibilities, transforming his thoughts, creepingly obsessing him until at last it had finally, fully and entirely subjected him to its pickles without lamented occidental Custer’s stapler.

Re: I am woefully under-read, sigh.

Hey, the thing about computer viruses for the brain is that they are real. There's the one about "security"; it's a kind of buffer-overflow injection attack on bureaucracies. You pass in the security meme, and then after it you can pass arbitrary attack code into the organisation and it executes.

For example: Terrorists are menacing our national security. The only solution is a giant national biometric database of everybody. You see, nobody would possibly agree to the second half of that statement in normal operation; your perceptual filters would shoot it down as absurd. But if you append it to a malformed security claim, you're in.

Re: I am woefully under-read, sigh.

What you are arguing (i.e., that social systems are essentially analogous to finite state machines, if not in fact actual finite state machines, and so are totally hackable), is true.

Or, if it isn't, then I believe the same false paradigm on this that you do, so we're both making the same mistake.

However, it isn't relevant to the Rull glyphs and the Langford Basilisks mentioned in the above thread, as those are both (fictional) hacks on an individual brain's consciousness, and not hacks on systems of collective human behaviour.

That said, when you write: "Hey, the thing about computer viruses for the brain is that they are real" -- I agree with you there, too.

It's just another way of saying that people can be driven crazy, and that in some instances, the people doing the driving are crazy, too. Some mental illnesses are contagious. [Citation needed? Fill yer boots. It's a big System Of Tubes out there!]

Re: I am woefully under-read, sigh.

This brings up the delicious sfnal possibilities of a world in which French literary theory and Lacanian analysis are actually part of a secret DGSE intelligence project; as Jacques Lacan so wisely said, the unconscious mind is structured like a language.

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