In a recent interview in Uncanny Vernal Equinox, the Voyager author Tanith Lee said, . . . who, apart from the calmest among us, has never wanted to hurl their typewriter or laptop or cell phone through a window, since it has just deleted a vital something, gone to sleep . . .
I thought immediately, how Mercury Retrograde is that? But there’s much more to Tanith Lee’s views than a passing frustration at mechanistic ‘inanimate objects’. In her books, particularly Don’t Bit the Sun, Drinking Sapphire Wine and The Silver Metal Lover, she explores the nature of sentience, intelligence and the growth of soul in humans and their creations.
Machines, even if vastly physically like or unlike humans, are also ‘living’ in their own fashion, and probably more resemble us, as we them, than we normally care to notice. -Tanith Lee in PGB
The animistic view, where metal and rock, rivers and streams, storms and trees all have a ‘nature of being’ and are all part of the whole (M Theory anyone?), comes shining through Tanith Lee’s work and I know I have been strongly influenced by her beautiful prose and the elegant philosophies. In the interview, I am also deeply honoured to be quoted:
One of the things I love about (The Silver Metal Lover) is how Tanith explores the hard problems of consciousness without intruding on the story. It was only during times ‘away from the book,’ that I pondered her insights—how the erotic nature of love can grow souls. When I say erotic, I don’t mean pornographic. I’m refer-ring to Eros, the god of love—the original meaning is some-thing that brings two people together in such a way that it creates a lasting transformation. –Kim Falconer in PGB
What is this erotic, soul transforming writing of Tanith Lee like? Here is a glimpse, from a post I did on the Voyager Blog a few years ago. It’s one of my favourite passages. I said:
‘To begin with, Jane is far from individuated. She says, ‘My mother has a lot of opinions, which is restful, as that way I don’t have to have many of my own.’ Jane is sentient but has little self awareness. Then she falls in love:
Mother, I am in love with a robot.
No. She isn’t going to like that.
Mother, I am in love.
Are you, darling?
Oh, yes, Mother, yes I am. His hair is auburn, and his eyes are very large. Like amber. And his skin is silver.
Mother. I’m in love.
With whom, dear?
His name is Silver.
Yes. It stands for Silver Ionized Locomotive Verisimulated Electronic Robot.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
As we relax with Mars Rx and Mercury Rx we might notice all the ‘inanimate’ things in the world ‘come alive’ to deliver their messages to us. As they do, you might very much enjoy reading Tanith Lee, or even get acquainted with a certain ‘quantum sentient’ named Jarrod, the Juxta-quantum arranged rad ram operating determinant who comes to ‘life’ in Path of the Stray.
Any experiences to share? You KNOW I’m curious!