SinistarOkay, the picture is silly, but what the heck.

Thanks to some policy about vacation time and lucky coincidences, I have a 4-day weekend.  Yay!  I’ll be . . . um, not doing a lot.  Besides the get-together on Sunday where a bunch of friends are coming over, I’ll cook, we’ll eat and drink, and see just how many of Rock Band 2′s songs we can get through.

I’ve been reading Singularity Sky, by Charles Stross. Sci-fi, set quite a long time in the future, on a planet where the powers that be have restricted technology to about the level things were at in 1900.  Then an information virus and nanoassembler army calling itself the Festival shows up on this planet.  A bunch of cellphones start raining from the sky, and when some peasant picks one up and opens it, it says, “Hi.  Entertain us!  If you entertain us, we’ll give you stuff.”  So these quasi-Russian serfs and wage slaves end up re-enacting bits and pieces of the Russian Revolution, except with more rocket launchers, grenades, thermonuclear weapons, and brightly colored plastic sporks.  One of the Festival people talks to a peasant after a few weeks and says something interesting:  “You have asked for material goods.  Not art, not science, not philosophy, not how to organize your government, not information. Are you really human?”  I think that if aliens offered the average person “whatever they wanted”, that person wouldn’t say anything like “A complete understanding of applied physics” or “A workable plan to eliminate poverty, theft, murder, and rape.”  Nope, it’d be more along the lines of “A flying car”.

There’s another plot thread where the government decides to do something very dangerous (time travel) in order to prevent the Festival from giving the peasants all these uppity ideas.  For some reason, I find that thread less interesting than the other one.  Oh well, I’m only halfway through the book.