“After Life” is a very good novel on mind uploading by a new author to watch. It is valiable for free (online and PDF) and from lulu.com on hardcopy printed on request and shipped. As I do when I like a free ebook, I paid the author by buying the printed book - I received a couple of days ago and it is solid and of good quality.
The novel is delicious - Alex Harris lives in an impossibly simple fairy tale world and does not know how he got there. He was in the team that developed mind uploading technology, and the first human to undertake an experimental mind uploading procedure. Is he living in a simulation? He has dreams of what happened, or may have happened, to one or another downloaded version of him after the upload. Did consciousness transfer technology trigger a Singularity?
I - we, the people I work with, study the brain. Right now we are working on something pretty neat, but also scary. We want to map a brain, functionally, down to the individual neuron. The trouble is, until now there’s been no way to do this without killing the brain’s owner.
But we’ve been able to do it - with a rat, and a cat. We don’t really know if it worked with the cat, but we are currently running a simulation of the rat’s brain and it appears to be exhibiting strikingly rat-like behavior. I.e. fucking amazing. Top secret…
I’ve been having nightmares about this for days. Because...I am going to have it done to me. Or maybe I already have.
Simon Funk is a writer, software developer and AI expert.
Who is Alex Harris, Ph.D? Even he doesn’t know as he awakens day after day in new realities, trying to solve the mystery of his existence.
Creatures, devices and pleasant townsfolk populate a utopia of someone’s creation, he finds. His? Or one of the six copies of him? The book uses lots of tech detail in describing cyborgs, tics, robots, zombies and other transhumans. He spreads to the post-web and sets up quiet businesses, run by other copies evolved past the mind of Alex, a scientist who surely died in his own lab. He remembers volunteering for a risky and complex experiment involving consciousness uploading, zombies, AI, cyborgs. It’s a digital utopia mystery with an unpredictable ending.
Written by Simon Funk, this debut novel of postcyberpunk sci-fi replete with psychological and philosophical suspense is free. Free!
Kill the Afterlife review:
About a month ago, a commenter by the name of Simon Funk stopped by this blog to say hello, and to mention that he had just finished writing and publishing a book, “After Life.” I decided to give the book a read, and boy am I glad I did.
Simon Funk is a man of many talents. In addition to being a writer and an all around great thinker, he is also a man who works in the field of Artificial Intelligence, or A.I. And that’s what his book, After Life, is about. You see, Simon Funk’s book isn’t about an immaterial dimension that ghosts go to after their bodies die (a dimension which the title of this blog demands be destroyed), but it is about continuing one’s consciousness outside of one’s biological body here in the real world. And that is an idea that I wholly support.
The book is written in first-person, through the eyes of the main character, Alex Harris, PhD. Alex has just figured out how to transfer one’s consciousness from a biological brain into a man-made computer. He performs the procedure on himself, and as a result, the entire world is changed. Perhaps the most significant change, though, occurs in Alex’s own consciousness.
After transferring his consciousness to a machine, Alex experiences a series of unusual events. Some of these events seem like dreams, and some seem all too real. At first, the experiences are very puzzling to the reader (and to Alex himself), and don’t make sense. But as the story unfolds, the pieces fall into place and produce a very mind-blowing cohesive picture.
Simon Funk is a very skilled writer. His writing is very personal and involving; I felt like I was Alex himself trying to make sense of the strange situations he kept finding himself to be in. But Simon Funk is not afraid to dig deep into the technological, philosophical, and ethical questions that naturally arise when consciousness, identity, and life itself are permanently altered.
Simon Funk also knows his stuff when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. His writing incorporates technological concepts used in today’s A.I. field, yet he presents the ideas in a way that just about any reader can grasp. Simon also provides a familiar, human perspective to these ideas. What the reader ends up getting is an excellent mix of technological, philosophical, ethical, and emotional perspectives on the main character and his story.