14 Mar 2015

HPMOR Concludes Today

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Today, March 14 is Pi Day, the date selected by uber-nerd Eliezer Yudkowsky aka Less Wrong for the release of the 122nd and final chapter of his widely-acclaimed Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

Wrap parties celebrating the conclusion of what is, in the eyes of many readers, the greatest all-time performance by a piece of fan fiction will be taking place in Singapore, Bombay, Melbourne and Sydney, Cambridge, Berkeley, Mountain View, Brussels, London, and Berlin.

If we wanted to capture the ultimate Boone and Crockett Club record-book specimen of Nerdus Americanus to be mounted and displayed in a diorama in the Museum of Natural History, we’d be hunting for Eliezer Yudkowsky.

Yudkowsky is an autodidact who quit attending other people’s schools after 8th grade. He nonetheless is pretty successful. He co-founded his own university, the Singularity Institute, and he hobnobs with and advises billionaire capitalist Peter Thiel on change-the-world tech projects.

HPMOR differs from J.K. Rowling’s original in its ruthless consistency. All the background sob story is removed. Harry grows up happily and without being neglected and abused. Neither is Harry is humanized. Harry is not unhappy or insecure. Harry is one of us, a gifted intellectual and thoroughgoing rationalist of keen scientific bent, skeptical of authority and completely self-confident. He knows he’s smarter than everybody else. This Harry is not willing to accept Magic as traditionally taught at Hogwarts. This Harry intends to understand Magic in the light of Muggle science.

As HPMOR develops, Yudkowsky follows the pattern of the early portions of the J.K. Rowling original, but he continually revises. The reader looks on in admiration, noting with astonishment that Yudkowsky is certainly right. Again and again, he successfully improves upon the original.

It’s a great achievement, but it did not go entirely smoothly. Writing HPMOR took years and years, and Yudkowsky found himself distracted from continuing by his own reviews. He bogged down about halfway through, and production slowed to a trickle. He made promises of completion, which he broke. His readers have been sitting around, tapping their feet impatiently, for all of last year.

Today, at last, it’s all finished. Yudkowsky will be releasing his final chapter.

It’s going to be interesting to see what he writes next.


Facts About Eliezer Yudkowsky:

Eliezer Yudkowsky was once attacked by a Moebius strip. He beat it to death with the other side, non-violently.
Inside Eliezer Yudkowsky’s pineal gland is not an immortal soul, but another brain.
Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite food is printouts of Rice’s theorem.
Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite fighting technique is a roundhouse dustspeck to the face.
Eliezer Yudkowsky once brought peace to the Middle East from inside a freight container, through a straw.
Eliezer Yudkowsky once held up a sheet of paper and said, “A blank map does not correspond to a blank territory”. It was thus that the universe was created. …



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