Author Topic: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future  (Read 1918 times)

Offline bouchacha

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Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« on: May 15, 2018, 10:45:46 pm »
I read this book as a teenager and it has stayed with me ever since. I was so excited to find it again: http://www.sivatherium.narod.ru/library/Dixon_3/01_en.htm

Basically, it envisions how humans could look like after x number of years with evolution and genetic engineering. The tone and setting reminds me a LOT of X-Piratez and the original XCOM's concept art. Maybe Dioxine can't make use of the concept art contained. It's written by an anthropologist after all.

Sample:



Offline Martin

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 11:21:40 am »
I wounld not trust a geologist who considered  telepathy a real possibilty in 1990. Other than that, it’s a bit too mundane with his posthumans for my tastes. Also, why are even the designed creatures so hideous? Even nature tends to select for beauty over utility when resources are sufficient.

Offline khade

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 04:54:51 am »
I think it's more that form follows function, something that is well built tends to look good.

Maybe the future humans are jerks and make their minions hideous just because they can?

Offline legionof1

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 09:51:00 pm »
Actually the visuals are probably more likely the result of an artists interpretation then the authors, and around the late 80s, early 90s, futuristic book art was honestly kinda fugly all around.

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 05:56:25 am »
A book about transhumans, not post-humans, as the genetic link is unbroken; posthumans would be uplifted animals or androids, or other, completely new beings, sharing only culture but not biology.

I get that this book, unlike most sci-fi, concentrates on genetical evolution, not technological revolution. Hence, it would be silly to criticize it for that. But criticize it, none the less, I must, even if the real objective of the author was to show us a dystopia to make us pause.

What is shown there, is natural extension of unsustainable, purely capitalist system, with all its worst aspects - squandering of resources, crushing poverty, social darvinism, schizoid technology, slavery, weaponized demographics and deification of evolutional theory. A world that must never happen.

In the foreword, Brian Aldiss conjures the most famous work of H.G. Wells, Time Machine. I much recommend his much less known, but much more critical work, The Shape Of Things To Come, for referencing a similar vision of a doomed world. Wells adds a happy ending to his vision, but what he proposes must lead to the same bleak, impoverished future Dixon had much more somberly described.

However I must say, once story the book loses any contact with civilized life, it becomes really fascinating.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 08:30:03 am by Dioxine »

Offline Martin

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 09:23:13 am »
What is shown there, is natural extension of unsustainable, purely capitalist system, with all its worst aspects - squandering of resources, crushing poverty, social darvinism, schizoid technology, slavery, weaponized demographics and deification of evolutional theory. A world that must never happen.

Inherent unsustainability of intelligence is one of the explanations to fermi’s paradox, through I consider astronomically low probability of life emerging  form non living matter the best answer.

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 09:43:28 am »
The thing is, the minuscule chances of life forming are cast into doubt by the constant pushing of the boundary of how long ago life formed on Earth... By the time of book's writing, it was pretty reasonable at 2.5 bn years ago, leaving almost 2bn years to chance. But now, the oldest findings are dated, if I'm not mistaken, at around 4bn years ago, which means life on Earth formed almost instantly after the surface somewhat solidified...

As for my own take on Fermi's Paradox, I believe that the "we are the first" solution is the most probable... With possible accounting for intergalactic distances; if intelligence formed 500 mn years ago in a galaxy 3bn LY from us, that still makes us "first" in our frame of reference... assuming the light speed limit is inviolable (at least on inter-galactic scale).

Offline Martin

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2018, 01:28:23 pm »
Even if it happened nearly instanteously on Earth, it doesn’t mean that the probability of such event is not astronomicaly low. Considering there are no know missing links between mid sized organic molecules and living cell (viruses and viroids need a host cell to reproduce) it means all the right components must have found themselves in the righ place at the right time and then by pure chance assemble correctly. Not impossible, but even if you have all the shorelines of ancient earth as your laboratory, it won’t be a common occurance.

Offline legionof1

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 05:38:10 am »
Well all the shorelines of a planet is actually a very large area if your down at the cell level. The smaller your increment the more area you have to work in.

Offline Martin

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Re: Man after Man, an Anthropology of the Future
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 09:14:09 am »
My point exactly!

Consider also the high degree of fundamental biochemical similarity of all modern organisms and no evidence of any alternatives among the single celled community be it wholy different set of codons or use of unusual bases and amino acids. This suggests that after the emergence of the very first cell, its descendants had enough time to colonize all the enviroments where life could emerge before it could happen again and when (if ever) another alternative life emerged, it was outcompeted by the already estabilished better adapted line and became extinct quickly.