Dom Carter

Delta Influences – The Mathematics of the Infinite

The mathematics of the infinite is as mind-snapping as it sounds; this impossible pursuit has driven great mathematicians mad. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate and well studied area of the discipline with its own formulae and hypotheses.
I named my novel Delta Function at a very early stage in the writing, when I came across a beautifully described mathematical function used within the study of the infinite. I’ll have to put it here, as I love it, and always get a delicious mental quiver whenever I read it:
The delta function – an infinitesimal-enriched continuum provided by the hyperreals.
It already sounds like the tagline from a sci-fi thriller. The blurb for Delta Function originally contained this mathematical description, but I thought it was a bit heavy and so removed it.
For me, to think about infinity is to experience a mental shut down. I vividly remember standing in front of the hallway mirror as a child, holding another mirror at my chest and staring down the endless tunnel of reflections. I would do this often, squinting my eyes as I tried to make out the end of the tunnel. Whenever I think about the universe being infinite, or the fact that I can add one to any number that I can think of, my mind goes blank. There are no thoughts or theories or images, there’s just nothing.
In my opinion, the mathematics of the infinite is the scientific equivalent of a search for God, and if great mathematicians like Cantor and Boltzmann lost their minds whilst staring into the void, who am I not to avert my eyes?
When I heard that there was an entire branch of mathematics dedicated to the infinite, I went out and began researching. Almost immediately I came across tales of mathematicians being sent to insane asylums, of suicides and lunacy. I was writing a nameless science-fiction book, but when I came across the above description I knew that I had found my title, Delta Function. Coming up with a title for a book is difficult for me, a project that I’m working on has a title, it’s awful but I don’t know what to change it to. If anybody has any thoughts on the process of titling their work, I’d like to hear from them.
In the novel, when humans are driven to extinction on Earth, thoughts of infinity were very prevalent in my mind. The resurrection of our species, our refusal to be extinguished; these story elements are representative of the infinite – pushed to the limits of endurance, the human mind thinks its way out. We continue to exist, to flourish.
In an interview with Neal Stephenson, he commented that there was too much dystopian science fiction being written, and that authors should write more positive stories. Although I am a cynic, and Delta Function certainly holds a dystopian future for the Earth, given the later diversification and re-emergence of the human race, I think, ultimately, the story is a positive one, a tale of the indomitable human spirit, of change and progression.
Infinity is a multi-faceted concept, and one integral to the mystery of being. We should not shy away from the infinite, but embrace it, not as a hair-tearing problem to be solved, but as a comfort. Whilst we can still add one to the biggest number that we can think of, there’s hope.

These past five posts have shed a small amount of light onto some of the concepts and experiences that went into creating Delta Function, I hope you’ve enjoyed the insight, I’ll be back soon with more mind-seepage, thanks for reading, Dom Carter.

© 2012 – 2014. All rights reserved. Dominic Carter is the sole author/creator of this website/blog. All content, except images displayed with the permission of Christian Grajewski, is the intellectual property of the author (Dominic Carter). All material displayed within domcarterdotcom.wordpress.com, is the exclusive property of said author.
Unauthorized use, reproduction, alteration, and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/creator is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Carter and domcarter.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Delta Influences – Ketamine

The recreational use of drugs has been much maligned, and, for the most part, with good reason. I do not deny the harm that drugs cause, nor do I promote their use. But, I believe that psychotropic substances have the potential to provide us with more than a quick thrill.
Cocaine and amphetamines are little more than feel-good drugs, but if we consider the hallucinogens, then there is something deeper and far more interesting going on. Out of all the mind-altering substances available, ketamine raises more questions than most. Notable medical professionals have dedicated entire tomes to its particular variety of cerebral warping. The spiritually fixated have championed it as the doorway to another realm and it has been said to provide out-of-body experiences like those reputed to occur when a person is close to death.
I take my influences from everything around me, as I’m sure do most writers, and, at times, those influences come in a pharmaceutical form. Whilst creating the Delta Function universe I had some truly inspiring experiences combining ketamine and THC. Some of those experiences have made it into the novel. The people of Delta, one of the planets colonized by humans exiled from Earth, have developed a method of manipulating physical reality using an engineered drug called konnon.
The ideas I propose in the novel came directly from the visions and thought-modes I experienced whilst taking ketamine. To those who’ve never had the inclination to indulge their curiosity, or for those who’ve never been curious, I imagine my words might seem preposterous, deluded or perhaps even dangerously irresponsible, but I’ve found my experiences on ketamine to be wholly positive and inspirational; I can’t say the same of other drugs I’ve tried.
I’ve altered, amplified and extrapolated the chemically induced notions that poured over me as I rode the magic ketamine-carpet. I took thrumming, drug-fuelled glimpses and moulded them into a cohesive plotline; the core premise for the Deltites’ superhuman abilities came directly from my hallucinations.
Writers abusing substances is nothing new; Hunter S. Thompson was renowned for excessive drug and alcohol consumption, William Burroughs was a heroin addict, Philip K. Dick was purported to use LSD (though having researched the man, this may not have been the case), Aldous Huxley, Jack Kerouac, Tim Leary, the list of celebrated authors reported to have chemically subverted their minds goes on. I can’t say that drug abuse makes a person more or less creative, all I can say is that, coincidentally or not, many of my favourite writers were wreck-heads.
I have had many unpleasant, even horrific experiences whilst taking drugs, especially hallucinogens, and I would in no way recommend that anybody try them, in fact, I’d say you’ll almost certainly live a happier, healthier life if you steer clear of drugs and alcohol entirely. But the hypocritical adage, ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ comes to mind.

In the next post I’ll be looking at the mathematics of the infinite, and how this perplexing pursuit made its way into the very title of my novel, thanks for reading, Dom Carter.

© 2012 – 2014. All rights reserved. Dominic Carter is the sole author/creator of this website/blog. All content, except images displayed with the permission of Christian Grajewski, is the intellectual property of the author (Dominic Carter). All material displayed within domcarterdotcom.wordpress.com, is the exclusive property of said author.
Unauthorized use, reproduction, alteration, and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/creator is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Carter and domcarter.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delta Influences – Robotics

Let’s talk a little about robotics; two things need to happen in order for robots to take their inevitable place among us. The first is that they reach a level of physical and mental sophistication that will allow them to operate in public safely and efficiently. The second is that they become economically viable for mass-production.
In my novel, Delta Function, a super-intelligent combat-mech called Ares has taken over the Earth, driving the human race into death and exile. For the purposes of my story, Ares is an artificially-intelligent android that turns against its creators and goes rogue, eventually expunging all non-synthetic life from the face of the Earth.
The creation of artificial intelligence is a difficult, and some say impossible task, but intelligence isn’t a prerequisite for robots to make a massive and lasting impact on our society, they simply need to be useful and cheap. As it stands, the broad spectrum of intelligence and skill amongst humans is met by an equally broad job market. However, if robots are created at a sophisticated enough level, then they will undoubtedly replace humans in a number of key areas. Manual labour and hazardous duties are just two fields where an exact, tireless, unflinching non-sentient automaton could and would outperform a human.
The balance in society would be threatened if a wave of cheap mechanical slaves were to replace a huge swathe of skilled and unskilled people. The likelihood is that a purpose-designed robot could do any task faster, more accurately and more efficiently than a human being. So, if we have a world where robots are building our houses (they’re already building our cars), laying our roads, drilling for oil, erecting wind-turbines and all the other myriad tasks that keep civilisation ticking along, then what happens to the resultant jobless millions?
Cheap robotic labour is an unavoidable consequence of an increasingly technocratic society. Industry chiefs would be delighted to remove people from the manufacturing equation. Having total control over an indefatigable team of possessions, with no rights, desires or emotions, would be any business mogul’s dream come true. But if those displaced from their jobs became disillusioned and angry, as they surely would, then would we see a revolt? The unemployed masses could become dangerously dissatisfied with their lot, and suspicious of the consumer society that has ousted them.
As genetic engineering progresses hand in hand with robotics, as the need for human labour is reduced and ultimately eradicated, would we choose to enhance the intellects of our offspring as a matter of necessity? Lest they be drawn into a listless, marauding underclass.
In my opinion, the only thing that would prevent these unfortunate future circumstances would be the advent and distribution of reliable, renewable energy, like extracting oxygen from water or the generation of electricity from reengineered bacteria. But, the cynic in me says that any technology capable of freeing the population from its dependence on fossil fuels and the big energy providers would be patented, purchased and peddled out at an extortionate price. For the nations of this world to progress, some great acts of global technological donation need to occur, but I really don’t think the CEOs and majority-shareholders have it in them.

In the next instalment of this series I’ll be bringing you my thoughts on the psychoactive properties of ketamine, and how recreational use of the drug has directly impacted on my writing. Thanks for reading, Dom Carter.

© 2012 – 2014. All rights reserved. Dominic Carter is the sole author/creator of this website/blog. All content, except images displayed with the permission of Christian Grajewski, is the intellectual property of the author (Dominic Carter). All material displayed within domcarterdotcom.wordpress.com, is the exclusive property of said author.
Unauthorized use, reproduction, alteration, and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/creator is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Carter and domcarter.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delta Influences – Cloning

Hello, I’m Dom Carter. Welcome to another instalment of my Delta Influences article series. In this piece, I’ll be looking at human cloning.

I find the prospect of human cloning and genetic engineering to be very exciting, though if such things became ubiquitous, if they came to be standard, established activities within human society, then a number of tricky existential, legal and social ramifications would need to be addressed.
Firstly, clone rights. If a clone were created exclusively from your DNA, would you, as the genetic ‘parent’, take custody of the completed clone as one would a child, or, given an accelerated growth cycle, would the clone be an autonomous individual with the same personal freedoms as anyone else?
Cloning could be a hugely destructive force, if the technology becomes widely available then I envisage slave labourers and sex workers being produced on an industrial scale, sports teams made to order, and planets colonised by mass-produced eco-engineers. If we take it as a given that all clones would be refined and idealised, unnaturally evolved, then there’s the very real probability of a new elite being formed, those physically and mentally more adept than the norms.
If it were possible to bypass the dangers of natural childbirth, would parents choose to enhance their test-tube-tots, their athletic prowess, their intellect, memories or emotional traits? Research into eradicating mental and physical abnormalities through genetic engineering and manipulation will pave the way for ‘designer babies’. I ask the question, is there something inherently wrong with wanting your offspring to be smarter and fitter? I don’t think so; the problem lies in the distribution of wealth and accessibility of the technology.
If every baby born from this moment on could be guaranteed a certain IQ before conception, or a specific body mass index, or whatever set of attributes and characteristics deemed to comply with some global ideal, why shouldn’t we make our sons and daughters happier and healthier?
But the greed and inequality synonymous with the human condition preclude the possibility of our global-village collaborating in altruism. If cloning and genetic engineering become pervasive in human reproduction, then a new and dangerous societal division would be created, a division along genetic lines, those above and those below.
How about the sanctity of your own thoughts and feelings? If an exact duplicate were made of you, including your personality and memories, would you still be you? If the clone thinks and feels as you do, and shares your every memory and character trait, then is that person not also you? If yourself and your clone took separate paths and were then reunited, decades down the line, could you predict the choices your clone would make? Propose accurate hypothesises as to the appearance of their partner, their line of work or the interests they may have developed? Would you be concerned for their mental and physical welfare as you are your own?
For the religiously inclined, consider the soul. In Delta Function, the citizens of a city are asked to donate their DNA. The biological samples are used to create an army of physically enhanced clones to locate and destroy Ares, the robot overlord of Earth. The people of Enképhalos are afraid to fight and so allow clones to be manufactured to fight in their stead. Have they doomed their own souls by sending their clones to war? Could the clones’ actions on the battlefield prevent the Enképhalonians from passing through the pearly gates?
I am not religious myself, but there is something unique, mystical and unknowable about the phenomenon of consciousness. If our minds and bodies could be replicated and upgraded, would our great cult of personality be diluted to a list of options on the screen of a cloning booth?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief discourse on cloning and genetic engineering, next time I’ll be ruminating on a future dominated by infallible, untiring work-droids, and the ramifications for the global job-market. As ever, thanks for reading, Dom Carter.

© 2012 – 2014. All rights reserved. Dominic Carter is the sole author/creator of this website/blog. All content, except images displayed with the permission of Christian Grajewski, is the intellectual property of the author (Dominic Carter). All material displayed within domcarterdotcom.wordpress.com, is the exclusive property of said author.
Unauthorized use, reproduction, alteration, and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/creator is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Carter and domcarter.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Delta Influences – Biophotonics

My forthcoming novel, Delta Function, deals with a distant future where humanity exists in scattered pockets throughout the galaxy, each exiled community totally different from the last. As a science fiction author a major part of my writing process is the extrapolation of existing scientific theories. In this series of articles I will examine some of the ideas central to Delta Function’s narrative, starting here with biophotonics, a term of my own invention.

In order to explain biophotonics, I must first familiarise you with the concept that DNA emits electromagnetic radiation; it has an ‘ultra-weak’ photonic output. Visible and invisible light is made up of photons – light particles. For us to see anything, the light that our eyes and minds process must contain energy and information, if all light contains information, then the ‘ultra-weak’ photonic output of our own DNA must contain information too.
If we wish to ‘see’ ultraviolet or infrared light, we employ technological processes to achieve our desires. Therefore, if it is the invisible information contained within the cells of organic organisms that we wish to observe, then an idiosyncratic technique must be employed to achieve that end.
A great deal of research has been conducted into the sophisticated pharmaceutical knowledge base found in geographically remote tribal peoples. Take, for example, the shamanic practitioners of Western Amazonian. When questioned as to the source of their medicinal plant knowledge, they explained that, whilst under the hallucinogenic influence of ayahuasca, the medicinal uses of the jungle flora were revealed to them.
A combination of the two ideas – cellular photonic output, and the psychoactively enabled ability to interpret that output’s information, creates, for me, a story-vehicle with great potential. The idea that every living organism is projecting its chemical, and perhaps even its historical journey for the properly attuned to discover, is a wonderful thought to toy with.
The photonic output of DNA is an established, documented scientific fact, the ability to see it under the influence of dimethyltryptamine is not. But given the complexity of tribal medicinal knowledge, and the unlikely combination of geographically and genetically disparate plants into chemically beneficial compounds, what other explanation could there be for the astonishingly effective results of the shamans’ pharmaceutical concoctions? The ‘trial and error’ explanation holds no water with me.
When I thought to include a fictionalised version of these two convergent ideas in my novel, I applied the concept to human beings. What if, given the correct chemicals and technology, we could ‘read’ a person’s biological story? Perhaps, using a process of amplification, a suitably prepared observer might be able to see into the genetic past of our race. We might be able to trace our exact evolutionary lineage all the way back to the Precambrian, and, if we take the idea to an extreme conclusion, perhaps we might be able to divine the origins of life on this planet, verify panspermia or disprove the existence of God.
Biophotonics is a product of my imagination, but I find the science behind the fiction utterly fascinating. Could some of the fundamental questions of existence be answered by imbibing hallucinogenic compounds? Could those making regular recreational use of DMT, ketamine, LSD and mescaline really be connecting with a fountain of knowledge unknown to the uninitiated? I hope so.

In my next post, I’ll be looking at human cloning and some of the puzzling identity paradoxes that it might engender, thanks for reading, Dom Carter.
© 2012 – 2014. All rights reserved. Dominic Carter is the sole author/creator of this website/blog. All content, except images displayed with the permission of Christian Grajewski, is the intellectual property of the author (Dominic Carter). All material displayed within domcarterdotcom.wordpress.com, is the exclusive property of said author.
Unauthorized use, reproduction, alteration, and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/creator is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Carter and domcarter.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Delta Function Exordiums – Available Now

Hello

Hi everybody, I’ve created this blog as a place to showcase my writing, when I’m up and running I’ll be adding short stories, excerpts form the Sci-Fi novel I’m working on, and other bits of mental drift-wood that I find washed up on the shores of my mind.

I hope you enjoy, please leave your comments and feedback, it’s the only way I’ll learn.

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