My other obsession
Every day for the last week or so I’ve rushed home from work to read another chapter of some Harry Potter fanfiction.
It’s called Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, written by Eliezer Yudkowsky and has as its (simplifed) premise — What if Harry was an 11 year old Richard Feynman like genius (with all the attendant flaws), raised by a scientist. The author has explicitly stated that this is a rationalist tract, meant to teach people common errors of thinking. (I was aware of the author prior to this, because of his writings on Less Wrong).
So there are lectures about confirmation bias, falsifiability, conformity experiments, and the like. But there is also a phenomenal story that takes place firmly in the world of Harry Potter (while still tweaking it) and is, in many ways, much more awesome than the original (at least, for me. Which is fair, since the original series has to work as a story for kids, and this works as a more complex story).
I’d read it a few years ago, but there was a long hiatus before the final arc was written. When the finale was announced, I went and re-read all 100 prior chapters. Apart from being a wry take on the Potter verse, Yudkowsky also gives many of the characters more agency than the original series, and the fact that Potter is different causes changes in those around him.
But mainly, it’s a hell of a story. And looks to be entirely consistent plotted out from day one (which, given that it has a much more convoluted plot, is itself a miracle).
It does have a slow start. I personally think it doesn’t get rolling until Chapter 9 or so. By Chapter 16 (the first Defense against the Dark Arts Class) I was hooked. And make no mistake, many of these are long chapters … the current word count is over 600k words.
But I recommend it wholeheartedly, it’s a thought-provoking delight.