To tell the truth, the second chapter of Midnight Lamp (Bears Discover Fire), has nothing to do with the short story of the same name by Terry Bisson -except that as a science fiction writer, having written a chapter where, well...some bears discover fire, I couldn't help but ref the story that won both the biggest Science Fiction awards, the Nebula and the Hugo (1990;1991). So here are a couple of links (click the images), and see below for a sampling of the sf icons, writers, ideas and references I've actually used, in the making of a fantasy series about now.

Ax Preston, techno-green rockstar who would be king, has a datastack implanted in his brain, holding a mass of geographical, social and political information. His friends worry about something the geeky-techies call "the flowers for Algernon scenario" -catastrophic consequences for the grey matter, if you keep one of these primitive chips in your head for too long. Why flowers, who's Algernon? It's because of a story by Daniel Keyes, one of the best loved sf stories of all time, involving a learning-difficulties human guinea pig (Algernon's a white rat who is ahead of him on the same road), who acquires genius IQ, and then the treatment crashes on him. Several of the characters in the Bold As Love books are familiar with sf tropes. I find it damned useful.


Faceting -where you can use a kind of mobile phone gadget and be present in more than one place at a time- is one of the spin-offs of the Zen Self quest (see above). Bi-location is a yogi trick (tho' not exclusively, other mystics do it too); but in this case my inspiration came from an industrial application described in Joanna Russ's The Female Man:and you can find it first in the original BAL story (posted on infinityplus) where many clubbers at the Insanitude are only partly "there", they're also doing their "Russ factory" shifts...


                        "ATP" is another Zen Self spin off. You get a transgenic infusion, and you can draw on the energy-delivery molecules in the mitochondria in your cells (adenosine triphosphate), as a personal powersource. Don't need the national grid, you can make water boil by stirring it with your fingers... "ATP's" a fantasy metaphor for decentralised power, which has become quite a buzzword in our own world, (all the kids are doing it); but more practical metabolic-energy has been around for a while, especially in sf. There's a geek-girl running her wearable computer on it, turning herself into a potato clock, in Pat Cadigan's Synners.


 The original post-industrial English pastoral, by William Morris: architect trained, artist and designer, somewhat naive political activist; founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement; also author of several rather wispy (IMO) romantic fantasy novels. Famous for the ménage à trois he shared, bravely but miserably, with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Janey Morris (the sultry redhead in all those sumptuous PreRaphaelite pictures). Enough said. NEWS FROM NOWHERE is basically one of those if-I-ruled-the-world guided-tours, not much story: redeemed by a melancholy self-knowledge rare in the utopian genre...



  The code name for the runaway doomsday scenario for the Neurobomb (fusion consciousness weapon), in Midnight Lamp, is the title of a chilling classic sf story by Jerome Bixby. It's what happens when the Fat Boy comes on line. In 1961, and still in the shadow of this fellow (r), the story (1953) was made into "the best Twilight Zone episode ever".