Drinking from the spitoon
Why write SF? The (slightly revolting) answer: like drinking from a spitoon, it's harder to stop than to continue. Impossible to turn away from the glittering possibility of a perfectly crafted poem about what might be, a short story that anticipates tomorrow, a novel that, against all odds, presents a compelling new vision of reality
And so, we scribble on about the creatures to be found in the deep space between stars, the working world when the boss is actually an android, what it means if the rich can live for centuries... Dreams that become reality as we watch -- what can be more fun?
Fact: it’s a science fiction world
There are robots rooting for life in the Martian soil, machines a few molecules across, spacecraft taking close-up pics of the outer planets' moons. Incredible technology is everywhere.
At home, there are revolutions taking place every month in IT, in medicine, in materials science. Paper books are giving way to tablets, compasses to GPS systems, newspapers to hand-help electronics. And so on, and so on
At the same time, we realize we don't know where much of the mass of the universe actually is, or -- in the final analysis -- why the universe is here, what came before, or what the underlying structure is.
What's new? What's next? Where is it all taking us? We are down the rabbit hole in good and earnest. Time to have some fun!
Are we going to make it?
Societies evolve. And devolve. It's a mess. Then again, it's always more or less a mess -- two steps forward, one and a half steps back.
In some places, members of once-repressed groups (like women!) actually have rights. In others, organized crime takes on government, or in effect becomes the government.. In places, social order has completely collapsed. We are back to torturing prisoners and enemies without much apology. The world economy hovers on the verge of collapse. Merciless religious zealots commit appalling crimes in far-off countries, and right here at home.
The Eve of Destruction or Business As Usual? Only time will tell. "If we make it, we can all sit back and laugh..."