“A Great science fiction detective story”
– Ian Watson, author of The Universal Machine
As many people will know by now, a very popular petition is circulating to have Alan Turing appear on the new £10 note. As I write this the petition has almost 15,000 signatures.
In my original on this topic, I pointed out that this particular denomination was particularly well-suited to Turing, being made up exclusively of ones and zeroes.
I also proposed a contest to design a Turing Tenner. Just to get the ball rolling I took out my meagre Photoshop skills and came up with this masterpiece, showing a smiling Turing against a field of ones and zeroes.
Someone out there can do better — I have no doubt of it – so I offered a modest prize package to whoever outdid me. The package is outlined at the bottom of this post because I think there´s something even better than the prizes that I want to talk about first.
When I put up my post today, which looks at Manchester´s decision to honour Turing at this year´s Gay Pride Festival, it got me thinking.
I haven´t heard of Turing being featured at other Pride events. Maybe it´s happening, but if so it´s not very high profile, and I personally think that in the Alan Turing Year he ought to have some presence in every Pride celebration everywhere — an exhibit, a float in the parade, or something to mark one of the greatest geniuses the LGBT community has ever produced, and one who excelled in public service to boot.
So I´m extending the deadline for the Turing Tenner design contest to May 31 to give people more time to do their best work and raising its goal a little. The winning entry will still have their tenner posted here and will still get their prize package, but I want to try to engineer something a little loftier and more public-spirited.
I think copies of the Turing Tenner should be in circulation at Pride celebrations all over the world. They should have one side blank, partly because we don´t want them to look enough like real currency to cause any controversy, and partly to make them useful.
They can be used to scribble down important notes (like who ordered which drinks when one person makes a run to the bar, or the specific spot where you and your friend are going to meet up after briefly splitting up in the mob). They can be scattered as confetti — Pride events can always use more confetti . Or they can simply become keepsakes of Pride in the Alan Turing Year.
I´m willing to do my part to help make it happen, but first someone has to create the winning design. In fact you should create it, right now, so break out the Photoshop, create some awesome art, and email it to email@example.com. I´ll get it into as many cities as I can.
Start your graphics programs!
The Prize Package is normall priced at US$20.00 and includes:
- First, a special edition of the ebook of my novel, Luck and Death at the Edge of the World, in which Alan Turing makes an appearance of sorts (an AI must be temporarily be instantiated into a synthetic human body and chooses to use one in the likeness of Turing).
- The special edition includes The Fictional Life of Alan Turing, dealing with Turing´s life after death as a fictional character in the works of some great (and some obscure) writers, including science fiction superstars like Rudy Rucker, Greg Egan, and Harry Harrison and scientists-turned-author like Marvin Minsky and Janna Levin as well as an introduction to the science behind the fiction in the story.
- It also includes The Science and Fiction of Luck and Death, a look at some of the real-life science behind the story, incuding present-day cybernetic technology.
- Next, you get two short stories, which will be issued as stand-alone ebooks for sale in 2012, set in the same world as Luck and Death.
- Finally, you get the next novel in the series, called In the Empire of the Monkey King.
And with luck your Turing Tenner will be at Pride celebrations from Brazil to the U.S., from Canada to the U.K. and more.