15 Mar '10 - 279 W, 3 I Whatever Happened to Ahmir Sektioui?
So, in part two of the Eclipse Phase quickstart demo scenario, Ahmir discovers that his knowledge on Mars - or anywhere other than the Outer Planers, the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud - is worth zero.
Ahmir's player - me - discovers that his Gamescience dice is trying to kill him.
Early on, I took these photos of the Tachikoma figure we used to represent Ahmir after he was resleeved following the previous episode's nuke encounter. I forgot to snap more because the encounters were exciting. Action movie exciting.
Also, they were somewhat hilarious thanks to some hilariously bad dice rolls. Kinetic weapons jamming. Beam weapons overheating. Parkour attempts that were... less than stellar. But there were some spectacular heroic acts as well, such as Zora shooting a bad guy through the neck to destroy his cortical stack embedded at his cervical vertebrae*.
We finished the adventure with a 20-kilometre radius, devastating anti-matter explosion that scooped out a whole lot of dirt - as well as deadly TITAN artifacts and bad guys' corpses - off the Martian landscape.
Thanks to Ivan the GM, Ivan the player, Keh Win and Kai for a great game. And Doug and Adrian for their input and chuckles from the peanut gallery.
* In hindsight, I believe that to shoot a person's C1 "Atlas" vertebra successfully from the front and at a high angle, you have to shoot him through the face with an AP round instead of the neck.
As Ahmir’s player you have declared his religion to be Islam and it reminds me of a passage in Stross’ Accelerando:
“A religious college in Cairo is considering issues of nanotechnology: If replicators are used to prepare a copy of a strip of bacon, right down to the molecular level, but without it ever being part of a pig, how is it to be treated?
(If the mind of one of the faithful is copied into a computing machine’s memory by mapping and simulating all its synapses, is the computer now a Moslem? If not, why not? If so, what are its rights and duties?)”
[fellowhoodlum] () (URL) - 15 March '10 - 11:29
wow sounds like an awesome session!! i haven’t read accelerando, does ivan like it? i read Halting State and Saturn’s Children and liked them. hmmm time for more stross?
sila - 16 March '10 - 09:01
Yeah I think Accelerando is pretty great. People say it’s about as good as Glasshouse if not better. Both are considered his best works so far. Accelerando is distributed under Creative Commons so one can find an online copy for it. Actually it was Hisham who sent me a copy…
[fellowhoodlum] (URL) - 16 March '10 - 09:57
The novel can be found here
in multiple formats.
Re: Speculative Muslim practices in a transhuman / post-human future
Ahmir’s sheet gave him Interest: Esoteric Muslim Traditions 40
and Language: Native Arabic 85
(Again, no use against Martian scavangers and Night Cartel mooks, heh) – quite easy for me to role-play him as a proper Muslim. However, other questions, such as the one you posed do come to mind.
We’ve already discussed about qiblat
direction in space during the first session. The solution was quite easy because even on Earth, Muslims do not directly face the Ka’abah in Mecca because of Earth’s globular surface curvature. Spatially, what we do is pray in the direction of the vertical plane where the vertical plane intersects the location of the Ka’abah. This should be easily translated to any position in the solar system.
The other thing Ahmir did was to tayammum
with Martian dust for ablution instead of regular water ablution before the company departed to search for the TITAN
artefacts. The actual question would be how would he perform ablution if he was in an inorganic, arachnoid sleeve with 8 legs?
What if a Surya (an uplifted dolphin intelligence sleeved in spaceborne morphs swimming in the sun’s coronasphere) decides to be a Muslim – how would he perform any of the Muslim traditions in that form?
Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council wrote an 18-page guidebook entitled Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites at the International Space Station
, which is awesome in itself. But the real challenges and problems will require an amalgam of scientific, creative and religious knowledge to solve, should a post-human future that retains all its cultural and religious legacies arrive.
I’m betting the least-progressive Muslims who hang on to the past instead of look to the future will curl up in a foetal position somewhere in the corner disconnected from the mesh, ignored by everyone and all their forks and muses.
Hisham () (URL) - 16 March '10 - 13:35
How would Ahmir perform tayammum? Fascinating. :)
None of us are particularly religious, so things like this don’t generally occur to us.
Jack Graham (URL) - 17 March '10 - 01:44
would Allah even accept worship from a dolphin?
kehwin - 17 March '10 - 10:29
i’m thinking that at some point in time when intelligence has been uplifted to the point where corporeality is an option and one has no physical body to actually perform ablutions of any kind, it seems the “niat” or intent will become key. how do you fast or perform ramadhan when you no longer eat or drink? it seems then that the intent and what is in your heart (and mind) defines your faith.
i don’t see why uplifted dolphins (or other creatures) worship would not be accepted. it stands to reason they are creatures just like humans (some would say, smarter than humans even). imho.
sila - 17 March '10 - 20:20
This is an interesting aspect of cyberpunk / transhumanism that hasn’t been explored since George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails
novel and the corresponding RTG’s Cyberpunk 2020
sourcebook of the same name. However, the Budayeen culture as depicted in that book appears to be a homogeneous Arab-Muslim culture with the standard tribal desert culture, whereas the actual Muslim global culture is varied. Heck, it’s pretty varied in this here city itself.
As a Muslim who reads a lot of science fiction myself, I believe a lot of actual Islamic teachings can be applied in a transhuman society. A lot of the description of the nature of angels and demons resemble not the Christian version of them, but more like automated AIs within the system. Angels do the bookkeeping and communications. Demons are specialized AIs in the system that will try to sway our judgement towards greed, lust, violence, etc.
There is even description of relative perception of time in the afterlife. And every human is an avatar in this virtual realm and our bodies are just transient compared to our consciousness which is eternal within the actual hardware/software of the universe. A lot of information technology appear to slowly be applicable to the actual theology. This can (not easily, thanks to conservative Muslim theologians) be translated into virtual realities and post-humanism.
Hisham () (URL) - 18 March '10 - 00:01
On the subject of uplifts, just as sapient humans are fully independent avatars in the system which are accountable, it is conceivable that we are able to somehow upgrade them from low-level sentience in the future.
If that be the case, how would Muslim lawmakers approach this? Conceivably, some uplifts would be convinced of certain ideologies or or not at all. (Scientologist octopus uplift with an cyborg e-meter tentacle anyone?) Are they fully accountable for their actions if some decided to convert to Islam? Are their consciousness to be the same as humans? Will some conservative Muslims label them abhorrent somehow?
How about multiple forks of the one Muslim person?
No real answers, but some great speculative tidbits for discussion in science fiction.
Hisham () (URL) - 18 March '10 - 00:22