Friday, March 13, 2020

The Wrong Science-Fiction Future

     I was hoping to grow up to spend my adulthood in the science-fictional future in which we had commercial space travel, permanent space space stations, Lunar settlements and were expanding to mine the asteroids and build outposts on Mars and the larger moons of the gas giants.  Watching 200l: A Space Odyssey along about 1971, it all seemed very likely.

     Surprise!  Instead, we all got the future where we're facing a global pandemic that's hammering the economy and travel restrictions are in place all over the planet.   Those were never my favorite books.

     (We're screamin' close to the future of John Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar.  An interesting place to visit but nowhere I'd have chosen to live.)
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     Also, the most recent Windows update seems to have put the knife in Firefox.  Thanks, Microsoft.  I'm back on the Raspberry Pi.  It isn't the fastest or fanciest, but at least I can count on it.  --No, wait, Firefox just popped up on the big board, seven long minutes after the double-click.  Wow, these modern computers are so fast!


Blackwing1 said...

I'd have to run to the library downstairs to check, but I think the only Brunner volumes there are Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, and the somewhat less-depressing Shockwave Rider. Those first two are so dystopian that I haven't re-read them in years. On t'other hand Shockwave Rider is more a precursor to our current environment of anti-social media and keeping up with the trends.

RandyGC said...

I've always preferred the Heinlein/Pournelle/Niven futures to the ones based on Malthus.

Drang said...

I started to say that I didn't think we were all that close to Stand On Zanzibar, which caused me to think about it, and... closer than I thought. Maybe not "screamin' close", but...
Thanks. Thanks a lot.

RandyGC said...

Oh, and apparently Windows 10 hates Audacity as well.

It's the only program I had to reinstall after running the upgrade from 7 to 10, and just had to reinstall it again after the most recent update.

markm said...

It's been a long, long time since I read Stand on Zanzibar, but as I recall its primary prediction was population density similar to Tokyo over most of the world. That hasn't happened, outside the urban areas of China and India (which also have a lot of sparsely populated rural area), and perhaps the cores of a few European and other Asian capitals - but there's always farm land or even wilderness no more than 50 miles away.

OTOH, many of the social ills that, IIRC, Brunner predicted would come from overpopulation - uncontrolled crime together with authoritarian government - have arrived without it. It's like people who seek power will, if allowed to have it, want to control every minute of the law-abiding person's life, while ignoring the criminals who never cared to do more than pretend to conform to their laws... And then they'll use that rampant crime, which they ignored as it built up, as an excuse to give themselves more power over the non-criminal.