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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The World Is Moving On ...

Here's yet another reason to love Neil Gaiman: there's an interview with the prolific writer at i09 where he talked about attending the "first officially sanctioned science fiction conference in China, and asked why the Chinese government was sponsoring imaginative fiction after so many years of disapproving of it." Neil said, "It was because the Chinese had noticed that they were incredibly good at making things, but that other people seemed to be inventing the things that they were making, and they had come out to the U.S., and they had gone around Google and Apple and Microsoft, and one of the very few things that the people at Google and Apple and Microsoft had in common was they were science fiction and fantasy fans from way back." The article summed it up brilliantly with this line: "And because they were science fiction fans, they believed the world could be different tomorrow, instead of just being the same thing day after day."

Stop. Think about that really. The world could be different tomorrow. Growing up in Memphis, I couldn't scan the web for directions to get somewhere, because there was no web, no smartphones, no data available. Somebody had to think that stuff up. What sorts of things are you thinking up? Me? Well, you'll see some of that shortly, spirit willing and the creeks don't rise ...

That notwithstanding, "tomorrow" is one of the most prominent things on my mind. The future holds a little girl that's half me and half my wife, due this December, and nothing like that has ever, ever existed in this world. So "tomorrow" is almost the only thought in my mind. Not just the things we'll carry with us -- your days of having multiple credit cards, a separate driver's license and membership cards for gyms and what have you are numbered, believe you me, just like Douglas Adams predicted -- but what our lives will be like. How will we relate to one another ... or not as the case may be?

"Be mindful of the living force," the grave voice of Qui-Gon Jinn(1) echoes in my brain. I have to remember to hug the lovely lady and wonderful little girl in my home, and not have all of their memories of me have an incandescent glow on my face and a glowing Apple logo glaring out at them ... despite the three novels and countless stories bouncing around the inside of my skull, desperate for the lengthy, arduous trip through my fingers into a form of digital life. It's a balancing act, a tough trick for an extremist, and every day I'm shifting my paradigm pole to try and not fall.

Playing (Music): "Sincerely, Jane" by Janelle Monae

(1) = Yes, I'm a Sith. That doesn't mean there aren't lessons I can learn from the Jedi. There's a section in the Revenge of the Sith novelization where Obi-Wan realizes that he simply has to give himself over to spirit (The Force in his case) and he doesn't have to worry about anything. Maybe he'll live, maybe he'll die, but what needs to happen will happen, regardless. In doing so, he became unstoppable with a lightsaber and fought off the deadly four-armed lightsaber dervish General Grevious, which was seen as impossible by many. There's a great lesson for me there.


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