At the event on Tuesday night, I remarked that China Mieville and Cory Doctorow share an irritating trait, which is to lathe my own ideas into science fiction books, many years before I even have the thought for the first time!
One example of this is on the important science-fiction problem of teleporting, and the possibility of transferring of one’s mind between matter. I scribbled some concerns about this earlier this year, but now I find that Mieville got there first, in Kraken (p.221):
This is why I wouldn’t travel that way,” Dane said. “This is my point. For a piece of rock or clothes or something dead, who cares? But take something living and do that? Beam it up? What you done is ripped a man apart then stuck his bits back together and made them walk around. He died. Get me? The man’s dead. And the man at the other end only thinks he is the same man. He ain’t. He only just got born. He’s got the other’s memories, yeah, but he’s newborn. That Enterprise, they keep killing themselves and replacing themselves with clones of dead people. That is some macabre shit. That ship’s full of Xerox copies for people who died.”
I love this kind of esoteric debate. Teleportation might never become a reality, but the questions raised by science fiction are essential when we consider the nature of the mind and artificial intelligence.