Ask A Genius 364 – Punks in Cyberspace and the Real World
June 1, 2018
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Why is the science fiction of going to Mars unlikely to become a reality as it is traditionally presented to us in the books and movies oriented with a science fiction perspective? No matter how brilliantly portrayed to us.
Rick Rosner: Alright so, what isn’t going to happen in science fiction in the real world, we’re not all going to Mars; people may colonize Mars. That’s a multi-century project to terraform Mars and not that many people are going to go leave on the trips to explore the terrain. Same with trips that are light-years away.
So, even if so, it will take 20, 30, 40 years. Even if they’re hauling ass, but in the time it takes to colonize Mars or to mount an expedition to Alpha Centauri, the Earth is going to be wildly transformed, which is as we were saying earlier not captured by much science fiction where that science fiction aims for a sense of scale and excitement.
Science fiction might be the genre that is most active in terms of having three short stories, where you’re going to explore a single idea or single feeling, So, it takes advantage of short form, but the future’s not short form and a lot of the things going on though amenable to short stories aren’t going to adequately capture the grand scale transformation of life in the next 200 years.
Cyberpunk, which started in the ‘80s flourished to the ‘90s has captured what life is starting to resemble now. And only now is a lot of this sensibility making it into movies or its part of our vocabulary. As I said, we don’t yet have a vocabulary of the dismantling of consciousness.
We have metaphors for it. Childhood’s End from the ‘50s by Arthur C. Clarke, I remember, but it presents the idea of the dismantling of humanity once it has reached a certain level of development and is no longer needed now that this next level has arisen.
There’s another story from the ‘50s; The Nine Billion Names of God, which the purpose of humanity is to come up with all possible different names of God and once we’ve done that we wake out of existence.
Nobody that I’ve seen has addressed the waking out of normal human existence or that long state into weirdness that we’re going to run into starting 20, 30 years from now and going for the next few centuries.
I’m sure there are short stories that have tried to capture the narrative point of view of consciousness distributed across three or four or five people, where you can see that shared consciousness in a way that can play out narratively – as a bunch of different people’s voices playing out in a single awareness like the movie Inside Out, which has five characters each embodying a basic emotion inside one person’s head.
So, I assume over the next ten or twenty years that we’ll begin to develop a vocabulary of alternate forms of consciousness that will anticipate some of the changes that are coming, but not a lot of science fiction that is doing that right now. There you go.
Jacobsen: Cool. Okay.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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One thought on “Ask A Genius 364 – Punks in Cyberspace and the Real World”
Hello Rick, How did you manage to read for 20hous. Just give me some of your tips!