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Editorial – Apr 2021: Going Through The Science Fiction Checklist: ID or Not ID?

March 28, 2021 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone,

Catastrophe seems to be going through the Science Fiction Earth checklist for extinction right now. From global warming to pandemics, we are being hit on all sides, mostly from problems we have created ourselves. Even with the warning signs decades ago, there were far too few voices or at least voices what would be listened to make any difference. At least with Science Fiction, disaster happened in one catastrophe at a time.

The philosophy was let a future generation with better knowledge of science deal with it or the discovery of something to resolve the problem often raised thinking that it could be resolved over night rather than thinking it might take an equally long time. If anything, it does show the impatience of mankind. You only have to look at how mankind with the current pandemic have a need to get out of isolation and we can see in a couple years how many people will remember our situation as something long gone. Well, that is unless another pandemic or a covid variant rears its head again. I don’t think we can afford to be complacent just yet until 90% or more of mankind has been inoculated.

I do suspect this is part of human make-up. Although there is some variation, based usually on traumatic experiences, think how often you remember the deaths of your nearest and dearest and other people you hold dear. Certainly on the anniversaries of their deaths in an orderly matter but much of the time to dwell on such things continually is not good for mental health. This applies to any traumatic experience and short of another world war, you can’t get much worse than a pandemic, not knowing who will fall victim or will be lucky to survive without side-effects. Well, global warming and that’s around the corner.

Editorial – Apr 2021: Going Through The Science Fiction Checklist: ID or Not ID?

Our best mental protection against trauma is also our biggest problem in getting something done in our best interests before it gets out of control. We can no longer leave things for a future generation as we are that future generation and we all need to participate to ensure we protect our planet on all fronts and that means looking at how we handle real events.

A lot of it can be put down to mental conditioning. Look at the number of adverts by charities on television and elsewhere. A lot of adverts work by repetition and become a mindworm so when you see a product you might pick it up as a preference. Sometimes you might not realise you’ve been conditioned to react that way. However, what can happen with charities is the continual showing of bad things and the brain’s own conditioning will shut it out. Not so good for the charities but it should give you some insight into your own head. I mean, should you submit a monthly payment by direct debit for anything, how often do you think about it beyond that point? Your head will tell you you’ve done your duty and the charity will certainly be grateful but the forgetfulness is principally part of the human psyche.

Of course, there’s no magic in this. Well, some maybe. Magicians, con men and advertisers know some of these strings and exploit them. Certainly, politicians do hoping you forget their mistakes when it comes to the next election. It really does take a strong will or unusual circumstances to be immune to such things or just literally being able to think. The Seven Deadly Sins oddly enough outline some of these exploitable foibles.

Those of you who want to lose weight will try a diet plan, lose those pounds and then revert back to what you previously ate not realising that you have to keep such diets and exercise up if you want to keep your weight down. Alas, the head thinks the previous diet fails and moves on to the next diet plan. Making the connection that to keep body weight under control, its more a matter of eating less and exercising more to achieve a balance. For long term change we have to be better than any new year’s resolution that tends to last a few months if we’re lucky.

I’m just using that as an example that you might have seen with either yourself or other people. It takes a lot of determination and bloody-mindedness to stay on top of any unseen conditioning. In some respects, being a Type One diabetic, I always have to be aware of food choices and what to avoid and any conditioning, other than to take insulin and eat regularly falls by the way side. A side effect of this is I tend to be on top of any mental conditioning that goes on and just be an interested observer than any desire to join in. Then again, I have being a bloody-minded geek on my side as well.

With the inoculations slowly spreading across the world, mankind is probably at its most vulnerable state right now with not enough countries inoculated and no one knowing who has been or not. In translation, there is no ‘normal’ at the moment and the potential to break some measure of society’s conditioning so you at least think clearly about any choices you make at least for a while, allowing for some clear thinking.

OK, something else to consider. I managed to get a letter into ‘New Scientist’ magazine’s end of the year special about the means to identify the covid inoculated. Although the letter was shortened, I did suggest a badge with a chip in it that could be easily scanned to confirm identity with a picture and other data. A lot harder to fake if there’s a match to a computerised database and your data isn’t there.

I did laugh off the possibility of having a similar chip embedded in the wrist simply because people would think they can be tracked but the same conditions would apply and might make things easier. Think about travelling the world, an embedded chip would be your passport and the data is yours and only available when scanned. It isn’t as though we don’t have the technology to do this quickly now as your chipped pets will probably know. It would only be a small move from tourists to everyone.

I don’t think this is going to lead to a totalitarian state. An ID chip doesn’t have a battery and a scanner would have to be large enough to see to identify you when going anywhere where you need evidence to prove you have been inoculated. A public scanning of everyone in an area would certainly need a permission of someone in authority.

There are other possibilities because it could even be better than a key. It’s better than a badge and certainly better than a barcode tattoo on the arm or a forehead tattoo, but an internal chip would have moved out of Science Fiction and be a valid part of our own reality. It’s use could spread to computer ID by simply waving it past your computer’s camera. That would kick a hole in the head for the con artists and those who spread abuse on-line because identification would be automatic. You can only be yourself. That would breed a better form of honesty. It might remove a lot of passwords, too, come to that, although with money transfers you would certainly still need card details still to some anyone waving your unconscious arm over a scanner.

Of course, there will be some who wouldn’t want it, in pretty much the same way some will never have a covid inoculation and will probably rely on the only queuing system while everyone else has a wrist scan and walks through to an aeroplane. It would still be possible to cater for all sorts and which queue you would prefer to belong to. It’s a Science Fiction trope just waiting to happen.

This might not be a perfect system but as we go ever more towards technology and this is really for those who travel abroad, it does mean that a quick check on identity and inoculation status can solve a lot of complications. If ever there was ever a time for such a thing, maybe now is the time to consider it.

Thank you, take care, good night and be grateful I’m not suggesting a blue/red palm jewel.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: Breath is the vitality of life.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: To consider all problems and solving consequences before others get to them.

The Reveal: If you thought with the 1979 film ‘Alien’, MU-TH-R only spoke the countdown to detonation, then you weren’t paying attention to the Nostromo release from the umbilical or landing on LV-426.

Observation: You never see adverts with swearing in them. Granted there are regulations and reasons not to use profanity but you do have to wonder what would happen if that changed and just which audience are they targeting.

 Observation: In the UK, prior to films and shows that have swearing there is a content warning. I do wonder how long before there is a listing of which words are used just in case you see them as normal.

 Observation: I was watching a 1959 comedy/romance film called ‘Teacher’s Pet’ which gave a distinction between TV and newspaper press. With TV news you get what happened and with newspapers, the why it happened is also explored. Either with Net news, the ‘why’ is often missed. Still true after all these years. Oh, it’s a recommended film as well.

 Observation: I don’t know about the rest of you but, especially in the UK, all these government slogans are beginning to feel like ‘Big Mother Is Watching You’ or you can choose which relative is watching you.

 Feeling Stressed: Euphoria is a strange beast. Inoculation might make you feel better but don’t under-estimate safety by just one or two jabs. It reduces the odds of infection but not totally.

Submissions:-

I did think that having a lot of text about submitting material to SFCrowsnest would attract those with a compulsion to read and understand things the geek way. The main problem with the Internet is that it tends to encourage less reading, so time to take a different approach. The original notes will be left on July2009 editorial although the links aren’t likely to work.

With your cover email, tell me something about yourself so I don’t work in a vacuum. The boss in the tower, also called Stephen Hunt, describes me as a ‘Dutch Uncle’ in that I’m good with advice and can explain when I see something that is wrong. Egos should be left at the door as I’m only interested in your talent and how to improve it.

Reviews:-

I always have a clarion call for new reviewers and if you have the yen to learn, you’ll quickly get the ropes if you’re never done it before but you must show me a sample, especially if you can follow my guidelines. We can usually get paper-based books in the UK but if you live abroad, then you might have to stick with ebooks. If you’ve picked a book we haven’t reviewed, then it stands a better chance of being used so use the SFC search engine to see first but I need to see how you would write for us.

The obvious qualification is a desire to read regularly and like to tell others about the book without giving away too many spoilers. The benefit is access to free books for the price of a review.

I want to give you the opportunity to get things right so look up the Review Guidelines link: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-want-to-write-reviews-for-sfcrowsnest-what-you-need-to-know-by-geoff-willmetts/

Fiction:-

Although we can’t pay for submissions, what we do make up for is exposure. Only the Sci-Fi Channel gets more hits than us so it’s worthwhile getting us on your writer’s CV. Please avoid samplings from book’s you might be writing or have had in print elsewhere as I do check. New original work is best and whether I accept or reject, you will be told of any problems I see so you look your best and a grammar check that is equal to the pro-world. Even the boss finds me scarily accurate.

Flash or One-Page Fiction:-

Speaks for itself. The shortest fiction possible is also the toughest to write as no word must be wasted.

Link here for details: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/one-page-stories-or-flash-fiction-submissions-instructions-by-gf-willmetts/

Short Stories:-

The definition of a short story is anything up to 30 pages and then it becomes a novella. Bear in mind you want other people to read it on-line, stay somewhere between 5-20 pages. At least digitally, you don’t have to go double-line as HTML will do that automatically but think about being concise. If you want to send an attachment with these, then ask first and send as a TXT file as it removes most tetchy virus codes.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-really-want-to-write-an-sf-story-an-update-by-gf-willmetts/

Finally:-

The worse problem I see any samples is poor grammar. Although I don’t want you to think I seek perfection, the less work I have to do, the easier it is to focus on other problems you might have. It will also serve you in good stead if you ever approach paper-based publishers because they will send back any bad grammar samples because it’s not worth their time.

Good grammar is the tool of any writer. Don’t just depend on what you remember doing at school. There are plenty of decent grammar books out there, so remind yourself of the rules. If you think there are far too many to remember, get the major ones right before moving to the next so it becomes second nature.

This link, www.sfcrowsnest.info/the-guide-to-better-grammar-from-the-harrowed-hand-of-gf-willmetts/ will show you the common problems.

To submit, use our email address by joining the spaces as shown here: letters @ SFcrowsnest.info and use the subject matter as to what you’re submitting.

If you have any pastimes that can be used to pass the time in captivity, let me know and we’ll see if it can be turned into an article.

Comments directly to reviews should still work as before.

Good luck

Geoff

 

Category: Culture

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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