It’s kabbalistically important that there only be ten author’s notes, so this is a postscript even though the book isn’t technically finished yet.
The Berkeley wrap party will be at 4:30 on Sunday, location and directions here. There is no entrance fee, but donations to help cover the cost of the venue would be appreciated.
Other wrap parties include NYC, Tel Aviv, Boston; and Austin; I’m bolding the last one since I missed mentioning it on the last chapter.
I’m planning to release Chapter 72 around 8 PM EST on Sunday. If you’re going to hold a wrap party, want to read the chapter at the party, and need it before then, I can email it to you a little early (may not have last minute edits). If you want to do this, comment here with your email address.
There will be an Epilogue published next Wednesday. I’m still not sure whether I’ll read it at the wrap party. Let’s see how my voice is doing.
Ranma is doing an audiocast of Unsong and is up to Interlude Bet. Check it out here.
And James Koppel has an Unsong filk song “Far Into The Kingdom Of Heaven Bright” up here at his Soundcloud.
A couple questions for you:
1. Do you have any plans to write sequels, prequels, or other writings in the Unsongverse?
2. Do you have any plans to publish Unsong in print form? I’d love to have it for Christmas.
I don’t know about the first one, but Scott has mentioned that he’s been approached by multiple publishing companies.
Scott mentioned that he wants to do it sometime, but probably not anytime soon because he has a bunch of stuff going on right now.
Will there be a recording of Scott’s reading?
From a Facebook conversation, it seems likely there will be at least one.
If there are plans for the reading to be livestreamed, that would also be nice to know!
If nothing breaks, the stream will be here/a>
Seattle wrap party, email@example.com please
We’re trying to do an Oxford wrap party at the FHI, though we may not get enough people for it to count as a “party”.
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org if possible!
Baltimore LessWrong will be doing a reading most likely.
If you need the chapter, please email me at scott at shireroth dot org with your email address.
Our meetup starts at 8pm, so we should be able to work from there, thanks!
Are these fine for completely random people to attend?
I’m going to be in NYC at the time.
COMPLETELY random? I guess ask the organizers, but I assume that most of the attendees will be people who’ve been reading the book and are caught up to the last chapter.
Ok yes, not completely random, but “I just moved across the country”.
I swear, if Scott somehow starts kabbalistically analyzing the attendees…..
Scott has, before past SSC meetups, emphatically stated that “If you are reading this, you are invited.” I cannot imagine that someone who has read Unsong and is posting here would somehow still not be specific enough to attend any particular Unsong wrap party.
…not that you’re still maybe on the fence at this moment.
It would be so great if Berkley meeting could recorded – I’d love to see it…
Thank you, Michael Blume for posting this. I had expected Chapter 72 to have been published by 8PM Eastern on Sunday and when it hadn’t been I went looking to find out when it might be. And found this. Just as the Baysean Choir finished and just before Scott stepped up to read.
It was not a coincidence because NIEAC.
Wow, this is awesome. Cannot watch right now, but will later. Thanks a cachalot!
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I’m running the Boston party. Email address here and associated with this WordPress comment.
Scott, thank you for an amazing journey. I was inspired and moved by Unsong, and I had a blast reading it.
As a tribute, I tried to perform a kabbalistic comparison of my life in New York City to the life of the Biblical Jacob. It fits uncomfortably well.
1) I was in Disney World yesterday, and while I was waiting in line for It’s A Small World, it suddenly occurred to me that IASW, a classic ride about world peace, is in Fantasyland. I don’t think that its placement there was thought out in those terms, but I cannot think of any more efficient way to describe the situation than “hmm, how kabbalistically appropriate”.
2) If something apocalyptic, like a nuclear war, happens in the next seventeen days – IE, in May 2017 – how will you feel, considering the correspondence to Unsong, which you wrote? How about if it happens this Wednesday specifically? This Thursday? If it happens today? Tomorrow?
Are you asking Scott’s permission to do something apocalyptic?
Uh-oh. Their initials are the same as the Large Hadron Collider’s. What are those people up to this week?
If I was planning on doing anything apocalyptic, I would not need Scott’s permission for it.
But wouldn’t you want it?
It is Kabbalistically even better to have 10 author’s notes, and one thing-that-could-be-an-author’s-note-but-might-not-be-we-really-can’t-tell-for-sure-best-to-include-it-maybe-with-some-dotted-lines.
How many Unsong fans were reminded by the unsettled and unsettling ending of Unsong, to the unsettled and unsettling ending of the last story that Mark Twain published during his lifetime: Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven (1907, text here, history here)?
This is a “trick” question of course. Many Unsong fans will have read Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven, and will recall many vivid details from the body of the story, but it’s not so easy to remember that Twain’s story of Heaven and Hell has no wrap-up: itendsends abruptly (like Unsong) leaving plenty of questions unanswered in regard to the workings of Heaven and Hell.
The reason for Twain’s abrupt ending of Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven, and the reason why its full title is Excerpts from Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven, is that Twain had been working on this story for thirty-nine years (since 1868 at least), and was never able to conceive a good ending for it.
Two draft ending chapters of Stormfield were found among Twain’s papers; and R. Kent Rasmussen’s Critical Companion to Mark Twain: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work (2007) provides summaries of them.
In a nutshell, Chapter 5 acquaints Captain Stormfield with vast spatial scale of the universe; a spatial scale so vast as to manifest the near-irrelevance of human concerns on that universal scale.
In a similar vein, Chapter 6 acquaints Captain Stormfield with the eternal time-scale of Heaven. In Rasmussen’s summary of it
Here we see (well, I see at least) plenty of parallels between Stormfield and Unsong. In both accounts there’s no problem with Heaven, and even Hell has a necessary role to play. What’s problematic is the pain that mortal humans experience — necessarily, both authors argue — in grasping the scheme of Heaven.
There are echoes of this theme too in Huckleberry Finn. On their raft, Huck and Jim are in Heaven … even though they don’t consciously appreciate the Heavenly reality of their journey, and even though they experience plenty of suffering (necessarily), even in Heaven.
A related theme that is shared among Unsong, Stormfield, and Huckleberry Finn is the notable degree to which Heaven is achievable on Earth. In all three accounts, there’s nothing about Heaven that’s inherently magical or superhuman — Heaven is in all three accounts a place toward which we are all journeying on “that progressive hellbound train“.
Which is another story, isn’t it?
Given that Scott is young, with (hopefully) thirty-nine years and more ahead of him to conceive answers to the tough questions that Unsong raises, perhaps an appropriate title of the present version might be Excerpts from Unsong, because pretty much every reader of Unsong (definitely including me) will hope to read someday of further Unsong developments. 🙂
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