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Eyebem
In Gene Wolfe
ktvician
May 08, 2022
Revisiting Eyebem. Just read this myself and will re-listen to the podcast shortly. A few things I noted: Eyebem almost has to be IBM, like Ceedeesy is CDC/Control Data Corporation. Not sure what the 887332 designation means, though lots of chips started with 8, like the Intel 8008, which came out in 1972, after this story was published originally. The mention of the neo-Catholic Saint Kennedy the Lesser running a "gorge on the Colorado" (Grand Canyon?) on an air mattress made me laugh, but also suggests a long enough span of time has gone that the Kennedys could pass from storied political family to legends to sainthood. I liked how the station boss was completely different (fixed cabinet with sensors all over the station), but still regarded as "one of us". That tells me the cybernetic beings have a separate culture that is pretty inclusive. Regarding Eyebem's need to keep power on to not lose all his programming: that makes sense to me in the computer science of the day. Stored data access was really slow in 1970, so storing a program in RAM and re-using it worked better. This was still true even in the 1980's when I was in college, working on FORTRAN77 programs for a professor. We had an early fluid dynamics modeling program that we would load and run multiple simulations with different inputs overnight, then our timeslot would be over and someone else's work would be loaded up. Eyebem has an interesting concept of death, very close to a human one - the loss of consciousness, not physical destruction. Presumably, the cybernetic body can be recovered, repaired, and reprogrammed/trained. But it will never be Eyebem again.
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Steampunk and occult detectives
In Elder Sign
ktvician
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