Marc Stiegler

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Marc Stiegler
Born (1954-08-01) August 1, 1954 (age 66)
OccupationAuthor, software developer
Alma materHeidelberg College, Virginia Tech
Genrescience fiction, non-fiction

Marc Stiegler (born 1 August 1954) is an American science fiction author and software developer. He co-authored Valentina: Soul in Sapphire (1984) with Joseph H. Delaney. The computer program, Valentina, was one of science fiction's earliest examples of sentient computer software, completely unlike mainframe AIs such as HAL and Colossus.

Stiegler also wrote the short story "The Gentle Seduction",[1] based on Vernor Vinge's ideas about a technological "singularity," the exponential growth of future technology that will drastically affect the human condition. The story's characters are augmented with molecular nanotechnology. The 'seducer' is the technology itself, and perhaps the programmers of the technology. He realized the majority of mankind is more willing to swallow a pill that fixes one's back (this happens in the story) than take a pill that installs a computer in one's forehead (also from the story). He also realized that many humans do not have the mental fortitude to survive the Technological singularity. The heroine of "The Gentle Seduction" is a normal woman whose very elemental connection with her own identity is key in soothing humanity's jarring experience of finally meeting an alien mind.

His novel Earthweb takes place in a future where computers have been secured from attack, the Web has evolved to largely supplant government as the underpinning fabric of human civilization, and idea futures are used to make decisions about important future events.

Stiegler's software development career partly parallels his science fiction. His non-fiction work, "Hypermedia and the Singularity" predates the development of the Web and predicts that hypertext will play a key role in accelerating the evolution of knowledge. Shortly after writing this article, he took over management,[2][3] of Project Xanadu, the hypertext system envisioned by Ted Nelson. Later software development efforts included the development of DecideRight (1995) which won the Software Publishing Association's CODIE Award [4] for Best Numeric or Data Software Program. In the late 1990s his attention turned to computer security.[5][6][7] Later he developed CapDesk, a capability-based desktop resistant to cyberattack, and invented the principles underlying Polaris,[8] an overlay for the Windows operating system that secures the system against several important kinds of computer viruses and trojan horses. He gave talks on object capability security at the RSA Conference in 2012 and 2013.[9] While at HP Labs, his research included approaches to security in planetary scale computing.



  • Valentina: Soul in Sapphire (1984) (with Joseph H. Delaney) ISBN 0-671-55916-8
  • Programming Languages: Featuring the IBM PC and Compatibles (1985) (with Bob Hanson)
  • David's Sling (1987) ISBN 0-671-65369-5
  • Earthweb (1998) ISBN 0-671-57809-X
  • The Braintrust Series


  • The Gentle Seduction (1990) ISBN 0-671-69887-7
    • "Masters of the Mortal God" (1990)
    • "Too Loving a Touch" (1982)
    • "Petals of Rose" (1981)
    • "The Bully and the Crazy Boy" (1980)
    • "Evolution of Entropic Error in Closed Conservative Systems" (1982) non-fiction article
    • "A Simple Case of Suicide" (1983)
    • "The Gentle Seduction" (1989)
    • "Hypermedia and the Singularity" (1989) non-fiction article

Anthologies containing stories by Marc Stiegler[edit]

  • Nanodreams (1995)

Short works[edit]

The following three stories comprise the novel Valentina: Soul in Sapphire:

  • "Valentina" (1984) (with Joseph H Delaney) Hugo nominee
  • "The Crystal Ball" (1984) (with Joseph H Delaney)
  • "The Light in the Looking Glass" (1984) (with Joseph H Delaney)



  1. ^ Stiegler, Marc. "The Gentle Seduction".
  2. ^ Gary Wolf (6 January 1995). "The Curse of Xanadu". WIRED. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  3. ^ Birner, Jack; Garrouste, Pierre (2004). Markets, Information and Communication: Austrian Perspectives on the Internet Economy. Chapter 4: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-30893-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ "SIIA CODiE Awards 1996". SIIA. 26 October 1996. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  5. ^ Marc Stiegler (Speaker) (March 19, 2010). The Lazy Programmer's Guide to Secure Computing. Google Tech Talk. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  6. ^ Stiegler, Marc (January 25, 2007). Emily: A High Performance Language for Enabling Secure Cooperation. Fifth International Conference on Creating, Connecting and Collaborating through Computing. Kyoto, Japan: IEEE. doi:10.1109/C5.2007.13. ISBN 978-0-7695-2806-9.
  7. ^ Stiegler, Marc (2006). How Emily Tamed the Caml (Technical report). HP Labs.
  8. ^ Stiegler, Marc; Karp, Alan (September 2006). "Polaris: Virus-safe computing for Windows XP". Communications of the ACM. 49 (9): 83–88. doi:10.1145/1151030.1151033. S2CID 18264492. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Marc Stiegler". RSA Conference. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Prometheus Award for Best Novel -- Nominees". Libertarian Futurist Society. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Prometheus Award for Best Novel -- Nominees". Libertarian Futurist Society. 27 May 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  12. ^ Glyer, Mike (26 March 2018). "2018 Prometheus Award Best Novel Finalists". File 770. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  13. ^ "2018 Prometheus Award Best Novel Finalists". LFS Best Novel Nominees. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  14. ^ "PROMETHEUS AWARD FINALISTS Chosen for Best Novel". Libertarian Futurist Society. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  15. ^ "PROMETHEUS AWARD FINALISTS Chosen for Best Novel". Libertarian Futurist Society. 10 April 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2021.

External links[edit]