Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Continuity

Interesting, someone twittered a reply to me (Hi Nick), about a twitter I put up concerning Penny Royal, and referred to that AI as a ‘she’. So, being paranoid since my dropped bollock concerning the sex of Vulture (a ship AI from Brass Man) was pointed out to me, I had to check. It turns out that I always referred to Penny Royal as an ‘it’ in The Technician. Then learning it was a lasting impression brought over from my short story Alien Archaeology I had to check that too. I think the impression might be imparted because the main person dealing with Penny Royal was female, though there it was still referred to as an ‘it’. However, glancing through that text I noticed some things about Penny Royal I have been neglecting in the latest work. I suspect, for continuity, I need to read both the short story and the book again. If I screw up there’s always someone who will notice!


Oh, and the sea urchin picture is here because, with silver tentacles and other appendages retracted, that’s Penny Royal in its resting state.

17 comments:

Nick Gregory said...

Hi Neal! Something to be said about anthropomorphism,non human entities and our dealings with them. We get it sorted now and the A.I. masters won't be offended when we let them take over and we accidentally call them the wrong thing...See! Done it again! Looking forward to Penny Royal when it appears.

KJ Mulder said...

Interestingly enough I just read Alien Archeology a couple of weeks ago and encountered Penny Royal for the first time.

Messing up continuity can happen so easily within the Polity since it spans so many books and short stories. Glad it's not me that have to keep track of it all. ;)

Neal Asher said...

Nick, in my writing I do it for effect. It's a lot easier to see a drone, AI or whatever as a character if it is a 'he' or 'she'. It's also easier to 'dehumanize' the 'it'.

It can be a pain, KJ, but it can also lead to plot useful elements when I remember or find out something about a character as in this post. The particular bit that stuck was about Penny Royal controlling skeletal Golem all across the Graveyard.

Bob Lock said...

Wow... that's a small spaceship :)

Neal Asher said...

Ho ho, Bob. Penny Royal is a mobile AI and in that state is about ten feet across.

Graeme Finch said...

I made the comment somewhere on Facebook many moons ago that Penny Royal was the dawdling old ratbag with its/her shopping trolley crosswise to the aisle looking at thee with a baleful stare for daring to say excuse me as you require passage past.

I think it/she comes across at times as an evil witch. Her VR avatar would be an evil old crone with one eye and hunched back. Funny innit.

Graeme. said...

I thought 'she' simply because of the name.
I like Graeme's use of an avatar to describe perception - for me she would be a dominatrix type of look !
(maybe that's saying more about me personally, than Penny lol)

Graeme Finch said...

No Graeme... I like your Avatar better. I must have been having a moment.

Neal Asher said...

See, its a line you have to walk between over-describing and letting the reader's imagination work. I can't really say whether I've succeeded or failed there!

Andrew said...

Hey, that is how I have always imagined her!

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

"I thought 'she' simply because of the name."

ditto, ..and the way she slow danced with 25 male corpses with a saxaphone soundtrack.

daniel ware said...

i always thought that an 'it' was a better description, as it makes AI more 'alien' for lack of a better word, and i doubt any AI would view itself in our distinctive 'battle of the sexes' fashion...

exactly how i pictured it, too, only massive and psychopathic.

Neal Asher said...

Of course we could get into a deep discussion about sexism here, which seems one of the forms of self-flagellation many in the SFF world enjoy. You are obviously all sexists because you have assumed that a giant psychopathic AI sea urchin is female ... or some such.

Graeme Finch said...

We were talking about her VR avatar... just because IT's a giant black spiny psychopath on the outside, doesn't mean it can't be a leather clad, thigh booted Uber bitch on the inside... or ex wife as some us call them.

Maybe there's the problem... it has a confused gender identity and so lashes out (nerf nerf), especially around mid month… or if it doesn’t get regular flowers and chocolates… or other tributes. I may be off on a tangent, I’ll get my coat.

Graeme. said...

OK - if Penny's avatar's a dominatrix, what's Sniper's ?

Surely Sniper's male ?
I think I had that impression when I read the Spatterjay books (before listening to the audibook).

Graeme. said...

although why I think the Haynes guide to the A4 would help me, I have no idea ;)


audibook should read audiobook !

Diane said...

Sniper is DEFINITELY male.