Wow. Posting every week? Look at me! Wonder how long I can keep this up. Anyway. The topic today, kids, is predicting the future.
No, not like that. I mean actually, scientifically, with reason and logic.
Last night, Big Bopper and I went to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen. Now, the last time I saw this movie I was ten years old. Yes, I saw it in its original release in 1968. And what I remembered was SCARY KILLER MONKEYS! FUTURISTIC SPACE TRAVEL! PSYCHOPATH COMPUTER! And also, my mother and aunt sitting with their mouths open in disbelief as the house lights came up after the show. (“Was that a fetus? Floating in space?”)
Some of the assumptions the director made about the future were spot-on—using credit cards instead of cash-money, flexible space suits, video phone calls—but most of the predictions of how Things Will Be in 2001 are laughable.
For instance, in 2001 all the superpowers will have moon bases where we can continue to carry on the Cold War. Also, furniture design remains frozen in time with Eames chairs. And to transfer information between computers, you need a punch card.
The point I’m making is this: The roots of the future are in the present, but if you’re a writer, you have to look beyond the obvious.
The USSR economy was unsustainable. It took decades to fall apart, but its ultimate demise was predictable, if you knew how to look at it. The integrated circuit, which would become the microchip of today, was invented in 1959. At the time, almost no one understood the implications. But now, microchips power everything from toilets to cars.
So if you’re writing science fiction or science fantasy, read science news. World politics. Business.
And let your mind wander.
No, I have not abandoned my lovely blog. But I’m starting to feel the need to revamp.
I’ve blogged here with varying degrees of enthusiasm since 2008. That’s over 5 years, my dear, sweet readers.
So it’s time to redesign, refocus and reverberate. I’m going to mess around with design and style for the next few months, and think about the direction to take with this platform.
BUZZ WORD ALERT
We interrupt our revision programming for this important blog entry.
I hate to give this article any more exposure, but I suppose you have to read the buttal before you read the rebuttal.
Claire Needell Hollander, a self-described “middle school reading enrichment teacher” has written an article for the New York Times saying that kids in middle school and high school should not be reading frivolous fiction during the summer. Like The Hunger Games.
She urges children to be unfettered with the specter of essays and tests for their summer reading, that they be free to explore works which may be out of their comprehension comfort zone. On that point I agree whole-heartedly. When a grade is attached, students tend to play it safe.
But Ms. Hollander maintains “Reading literature should be intentional.” Her suggestions for summer reading include a first hand account of the aftermath of Hiroshima and books about kids who have been real child soldiers and a child sex worker. She feels these book choices “increase world and verbal knowledge”.
There is a reason we tell stories, and it is this: to make sense out of a senseless world.
Kids and teens especially must have the luxury to explore in a fictional setting the topics that frighten, anger and titillate them. They should be given the space to figure out how life works, how it should work.
Reading fiction with compelling characters gives kids and teens the chance to feel those characters’ dilemmas, to make moral choices along with them. They’re building their understanding of the world and their place in it, one book at a time.
Been doing a little spiffin’ up around here. You might notice the new “Name Your Poison” feature, where you can find posts by category.
And the “Well, There’s This…” doohickey. That’s where I plan to stash strange gifs I find floating around the intrawebs.
Also, scroll down on the right, there, and meet Bubba. You can toss the ball, feed him delish tidbits, double click to make him sit or lie down, throw him a bone or even scratch him. Best virtual dog I ever had. Not sure how long I’ll keep him around. Enjoy him while he lasts.
Why all the incredibly complicated high-tech changes?
BECAUSE I CAN.