Punch the button, because I’m calling it at 55,000. GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND is a mess that will require more words and entire sections written, or rewritten; but the plot works and I can come back to it after I lick TINSEL RAIN into shape. And at 55K it’s above the ‘official’ target number. I’m well-content.
the sudden unexpected death of a person is one piece of information The Process avoids volunteering, even when you’ve explicitly told it to keep you updated on disasters and tragedies. Our best cyber-semanticists have tried to figure out why — which is to say, they’ve sat down with The Process and asked it to really, really think about why it has that particular glitch. They’ve never gotten a straight answer: The Process isn’t physically broken that way, and it can’t find a flaw in its programming. It invariably professes simply not to know.
I think that’s the ultimate proof that The Process is sapient: it’s capable of self-delusion. If I was a nigh-omniscient knowledge system that had ‘woken up’ in a post-apocalyptic wasteland to discover that everybody was dead and I didn’t know why, I might be just a bit reluctant to officially notice it when anybody else died, right out of the blue. It would be a hell of a reminder of my ongoing fundamental failure to understand what had happened.
And maybe that’s why The Process pushes itself so much. It’s the last fragment of the Amalgamation, surrounded by the corpses of worlds. But it can’t do anything about it, except get us humans up to speed in what was suddenly an actively hostile universe. If there is anything like a chance for justice, or just revenge, it will come from our hands, not its.
It’s a Hell of a burden for anything thinking entity. Which also may be why The Process always insists that it can’t actually think. Whatever you have to do to keep functioning, right?