Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mac Thoughts, Vol. I

One of my favourite photos of Mac, with my friend Veronica Reynolds in 2006 when we were all in Santa Ana, California - Mac and I working on Best Evidence, and Veronica studying acting in Los Angeles. Thanks to social butterfly Veronica, we wound up at a wedding "after party" that evening, which went on until the wee hours of the morning. Mac and I ended up in a room with some of the guys in the wedding party having a conversation about kung fu movies, and then time travel.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Mac Tonnies, at least in passing. On some days, however, in different ways and for different reasons, I think of him more than others. I've decided that on those days I'm going to delve back into areas of Mac's work that I found particularly interesting over the years, and post snippets of it here. Call them "Mac Thoughts".

Today is one of those days, so...

From January 31, 2003, at Posthuman Blues:
Mainstream SETI avoids another unsettling possibility: that some extraterrestrial radio transmissions may not be signals at all, but templates for actual alien personae. If it's possible to place a self-replicating automated probe in another star system, it could be used as a receiver as well as an observation instrument. Neurologically inclined aliens could "upload" themselves into a computational substrate and "fax" themselves to the distant receiver at the speed of light.
This concept, which Mac continued to be intrigued by until the end of his life, later became the core story for the play Doing Time, which is now a screenplay in development titled The Icarus Imperative.

Of course, no instalment of "Mac Thoughts" will be complete without a musical selection that both he and I enjoyed. Today, a little REM.

"Everyone here comes from somewhere."

I like to think that someone like Mac winds up somewhere, too.

Paul Kimball


Katie said...

I have no doubt Mac is still with us, in some way, shape, or form. And probably having the time of his life. :o)

I like to think so, anyway.

AJG said...

Oh, he's out there. The type of self-replicating ideas and memes he produced will continue to grow and spread. Out of all the para-whatever thinkers extant, I think Mac is the one who's notions will bear the most fruit.