Tag Archives: musicofthespheres

Music of the Spheres, Illustrated

“Music of the Spheres” is going to be the cover story for the January 2012 issue of 科幻世界 / Science Fiction World. The editors were kind enough to share with me the cover image and an illustration done for it.

SFW January 2012 cover

SFW January 2012 cover

I’m always grateful to the illustrators who provide art for my stories: they give my words a new interpretation that I couldn’t have come up with on my own.

Mirror Shards Launch

“Music of the Spheres” is now out in Mirror Shards: Volume One, an anthology of augmented reality stories edited by Thomas K. Carpenter.

mirror shards cover

Here’s the back cover book blurb:

EXPLORE the edge of augmented reality in thirteen tales from thirteen fantastic authors. When the digital world collides with our real one, bringing all its problems and benefits, mankind will have to relearn what it means to be human.

In this glimpse of possible futures, you will go on the hunt to track down a fugitive on the other side of the known Universe. Learn the price of ubiquitous knowledge, or find peace and understanding in the absence of it. Dive deep into the ocean to avert a kidnapping using only the tools at hand. Experience new realities underwritten by an alien love of entertainment. Find hidden truths contained within our smallest gestures. Hide something so valuable, it would drive a man to crime. Or find that sometimes, what it doesn’t hide is what endangers us most.

The Table of Contents:

  • “El Mirador” by Alex J. Kane
  • “Music of the Spheres” by Ken Liu
  • “These Delicate Creatures” by Melissa Yuan-Innes
  • “Below the Bollocks Line” by T D Edge
  • “The Sun is Real” by George Page
  • “A Book By Its Cover” by Colleen Anderson
  • “Of Bone and Steel and Other Soft Materials” by Annie Bellet
  • “Witness Protection” by Louise Herring-Jones
  • “Stage Presence, Baby” by E.M. Schadegg
  • “Gift Horses” by K.E. Abel
  • “The Cageless Zoo” by Thomas K. Carpenter
  • “More Real Than Flesh” by Grayson Bray Morris
  • “The Watcher” by George Walker

You can buy it from Amazon (Kindle), Amazon (Paperback), B&N, and Smashwords.

For more on the anthology, please see the publisher’s site.

Working Memory

There’s some evidence that the size of your working memory — the amount of information that you can actively hold in your head at once — is correlated with intelligence. (See discussion in Daniel Willingham’s Why Don’t Students Like School and the sources cited therein).

“Music of the Spheres,” which will be published in Thomas Carpenter’s anthology, Mirror Shards: Exploring the Edges of Augmented Reality, is about the potential for technology to augment working memory. I actually began this story almost a decade ago, long before I knew anything about the cognitive science on working memory and intelligence. Surprisingly, my conjectures have turned out to be largely right.

But it’s also a story about the meaning of disability.

I’ve been thinking about how we define normality and disability. If some develop a mutation to digest milk as adults, is the inability to digest milk (the state of normality prior to the existence of the mutation) now a disability? If some portion of the population have bodies that can accept augmentation technology while others cannot, are the others now disabled?

How we answer these questions have implications for what we do. And I don’t find them easy.