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352 pages, Paperback
First published April 1, 1994
"To me, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for the chance to be imitated by a computer after my death is just … farcical. I’m not an eccentric millionaire, I don’t want to spend my money – or yours – building some kind of … talking monument to my ego. I still have a sense of proportion."
‘I do believe that Copies are intelligent. I just wouldn’t say that they are – or they aren’t – ‘‘the same person as’’ the person they were based on. There’s no right or wrong answer to that; it’s a question of semantics, not a question of truth. "
"Being scanned wouldn't make me feel any better about dying. Whatever a Copy of me might think, if one was ever run.’
... and much later on in book:
"Copies, like funerals, were for the benefit of the survivors"
“Sometimes, people who read my work tell me, ‘I like it, but it’s not really science fiction, is it?’” he says. “And I always feel like, no, actually, my work is exactly science fiction.” After Star Wars forever made the genre synonymous with what Chiang calls “adventure stories dressed up with lasers,” people forgot that science fiction includes the word “science” for a reason: It is supposed to be largely about exploring the boundaries of knowledge, he says. “All the things I do in my work — engaging in thought experiments, investigating philosophical questions — those are all things that science fiction does.”
Science fiction is the fiction of ideas. Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves. Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.