Friday, April 01, 2005

Conversations With Starglider

We were rebels when I was at college. We used to dial up Prestel during peak time. This came to me yesterday when I was trying to think about the whole Internet at once. I remember thinking how endless Prestel seemed. Not that endless it seems from the website but at the time having all that information available in one place seemed like science fiction. There is a bit in Arthur C Clarke's book, The Fountains Of Paradise where the main character uses some sort of information booth which is obviously some sort of Internet. It is quite weird to see that this idea which I felt fitted perfectly with the time setting of the novel - some 150-200 years into the future - is so far behind what is already available to us now with out handheld devices. Reality is some way ahead of a lot of the nuts and bolts of 'true' science fiction ideas of the last couple of decades. If only some of the big ideas were as far forward.

For example, the glossing over of the continuously pressing social problems of the world. It seems we are going to live in some sort of Utopia (A word which I think was defined as ironic and then re-assigned after the invention of the word Dystopia) where all the world looks socially like the America of now but with flying cars and clean streets. Where are all the other great cultures of the world. After all, half the world is China and India. That given, the troubles of Christianity, Islam and Judaism - alphabetical order you will note - seem like playground squabbles. You may be sensing the underlying bubbles of anger that this provokes in me. Of course it is very difficult for me so see the world in any way other than from my WASPy point of view but at least I am aware of the other things.

I just wrote a very pretentious paragraph about morality and religion which I have deleted. I think you can guess what I was trying to say so I will just leave it at that. The Quakers might just put up with me but let's face it I'm bound for Limbo.

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