Full Tide of Night

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Dunn, J. R. Full Tide of Night. New York: Avon, 1998.

Fairly near-future S.F. story using some elements of John Webster's Tragedy of Blood, The Duchess of Malfi (first staged 1613 or 1614), with Julia Amalfi—refugee from Earth and nearly literal mother of her people—getting the line "I am the Dame of Midgard still" (294; ch. 17). Significant here: Cariola, serving-woman unto Webster's Duchess, becomes in FTN an AI with a strong personality; an agenda; capacity for rebellion, guilt and feelings generally; and arguably as much gender and as many neuroses as HAL 9000, whose "intellectual breakdown" has been chronicled in the world of FTN in "a notable drama […,] Hal 9000, His Tragical Historie, supposedly based on an incident during the first space age" (151; ch. 10). Note also (cybernetic?) augmentation of the body of Julia Amalfi, "controlled parthenogenesis" and in vitro gestation of humans, human/computer voice-interface, and fanatics paralleled to people taken over by computer programs (passim). The fanatical rank-and-file of the Rigorists are called "monads," and are held in contempt by two leading "alpha males"; compare monads with humans as RISTs in N. Stephenson's Cryptonomicon: 354 f. in 1999 Perennial edn. ("Phreaking" chapter). Also note the Erinye (Greek: Furies), nicely described by Michael Levy as "an implacably hostile race of once-human computer entities who may well have wiped out or converted to their own kind all life," or all human life, "on Earth" ("The Duchess of Malfi Revived: J. R. Dunn's Science Fiction Revenge Tragedy" [paper at 2001 conference of the International Assoc. for the Fantastic in the Arts, forthcoming in the Selected Proceedings of the conference). Finally, in Duchess, the Duchess is succeeded by a son; in FTN that structural/plot position is taken by Victoria, Julia's clone-, or better, clade-daughter produced "utilizing the large stock of natal machinery taken off the ship" that brought Julia Amalfi to Midgard (280-81, ch. 17; 311, ch. 18). (RDE, 21&22/04/01)