Editorial – Dec 2020: Don’t stop alternative solutions.

November 29, 2020 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone,

With the end of the year looming and the fact that our reality has turned ever more into a Science Fiction reality, it does raise an interesting question as to whether we anticipate future consequences before they happen. After all, we’ve been having pandemics on and off for several years, mostly country-contained until now. It was inevitable that sooner than later, one would spread worldwide and all countries have paid attention. Knowing the number of fatalities is one thing, it’s the long term effects on those who survived which is still a grey area and that’s not even considering the problems some people are having with newly developed mental problems.

Those of us with certain mental problems already are just seeing them raised a few notches so don’t think we’ve escaped, just that some of us who are already that way know a bit more how to cope with isolation, mostly by getting on with it and finding our own rhythm again.

At least, next year this time, we should be in a position to look at the overall picture of what happened and working on ways to minimising it happening again. I doubt if cross-species infections are ever likely to stop but efforts to minimise them has to be critical on any country’s agenda. China has one almighty task shutting such food markets down although one would hope that it makes sense to them to offer such traders alternative ways of living or a hygienic alternative than risk a potential black market with no control at all. Solutions need alternatives, not just stopping them if people just see it as a means to make money. You can see the results in the Brazilian rain forests, where its still being taken down. Restoring the forests there will take far longer unless the population involved weren’t given better ways to make a living.

Accountability isn’t a matter of passing blame or proving who is responsible under law. A very important thing to remember as I suspect most people will say it mustn’t happen again but know that might be wishful thinking. A pandemic is a wildcard event but work should be done to reduce such chances. Consequences after the story doesn’t come up in Science Fiction very often, mostly because it tends to be happening after the main story is over or what to do after a pandemic and becomes a different story. Oddly, the only time I can remember it happening is with ‘The Andromeda Strain’ (1971) film with remarks from the official inquiry prior to the credits that oddly reflect the same thing about containment and control.

At least we aren’t likely to be breeding dinosaurs. The first incident of fatalities should also have been the first and only time, not turning it into a franchise. It wouldn’t happen in real life or allowed to continue. SF, as a medium in books and films, needs to demonstrate realistic solutions and not all rely on some hero or heroine saving the day for just family and friends. Science Fiction used to shake and shock people and to err on caution than to accept everything without question. It needs to go that way again in addressing every change that is happening in the world we have about us today.

If solutions to any world problem are to be found then there must be stronger choices with equal or even better alternatives to resolve. People are reacting faster than governments to seeing the consequences of plastic pollution. The world in pandemic is giving people a lot more time to think on such things. Hopefully, business people and politicians might also be reflecting on their own decisions and make better choices. It’s the ideal time to think we need to make changes to the various societies we live in, not just to shore up the current problems.

Does it sound optimistic to make the best out of a serious problem? We would certainly be foolish to think things should just go back the way they were in 2019.

What should not be neglected is the sciences and we definitely need is more new skilled scientists in every field. The children of today will be the generation to guide into such aspirations from first hand experience. If some don’t get into science then working in the medical profession in any capacity shouldn’t be discouraged neither just to keep the numbers up. One can only hope governments across the world realise this and ensure and finance our and their future will have more than enough people concerned with looking after our own species of all ages as well as our ecology as a whole. We’ve had a very stern warning about our life-styles in 2020 not to heed this.

A slightly different subject to end on but should give you pause for thought. With at least three covid-19 vaccinations/inoculations already on the cards and probably more on the way before the end of the month, it is going to end up being a choice of which you pick. Of course, governments and medical bodies are going to make the final choice or choices based on affordability and how it affects different age groups. One can only hope the highest efficiency rate should be taken into account as well. Although I don’t think any vaccination is ever going to be 100% effective, one needs to know what happened to those failed percentages. 5 or 10% might seem small, its only when its turned into population numbers that it could be a thousand or even a million or more people.

So far, it turns out to be headaches and muscle cramps but no one has asked whether the inoculation still worked and how long these side-effects lasted. A nasty little grey area that needs resolution if just to reassure those who hesitate over inoculation. The number of people who are wary of any form of inoculation needs to be addressed and their questions resolved so they will take the jabs needed for their own survival. Without that, then the infected covids will survive and we really don’t want that at the cost of more lives.

Then again, it also makes more sense for us to see all the figures to see the age ranges, those already infirmed with other illnesses and how they respond. I’m also concerned how the inoculations will help those with long-term post-covid side effects and will that be resolved. Hopefully, attention will be focused on that next year. Don’t assume everything is over once you’ve had the one or two jabs. It takes a month for each to develop enough anti-bodies, so you’ll still be masking and distancing at least until the spring or later. It isn’t an instant cure.

Even so, no doubt there will be instruction on how long after an inoculation would you be allowed to go maskless and then I see a problem. After all, some people do refuse masks or wear them reluctantly and whether they take the jab or not, are likely to not wear them to mix in so could still spread covid-19. One would hope there would be some form of badge given to those who are inoculated to wear to identify you’ve had one or both jabs. Of course, the problem with that is fakes but a chip-based badge identified to one individual would stop that and a simple scan would verify your status. Unlike inoculations, the technology already exists for this and wouldn’t take long to put out at the same time and the police to carry a verification scanner. No doubt some will have an app for mobile telephones but I think a badge would tell everyone as part of the community spirit and be more visible. The biggest worry then is remembering to move the badge onto whatever change of clothing you wear next and it becomes a habit. Without some means of identification and knowing who you can tell has had the jab, we might still be experiencing more lockdowns in 2021 and on that happy note…

Thank you, take care, good night and let me in a non-committal way wish 2021 might be a better healthier year.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: Every day is important because it doesn’t last forever. 23¼ hours at most.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: A balance between optimism and pessimism is the only way to balance arguments fairly.

The Reveal: Like any infection, corvid-19 doesn’t understand the concept of bank holidays but will take advantage of them. Don’t give it the Yuletide present it shouldn’t be having in January. Think of the future as many as the present as it’ll last longer.

Observation: There’s a flaw with the original ‘V’ mini-series. Although the Visitors either brainwashed or ‘removed’ notable scientists, you would still wonder how they could remove all scientists from the planet. After all, you wouldn’t have to be notable to apply scientific research, just able to read and interpret the right books.

 Observation: I once had a captive audience but had to let them go because of fire regulations.

 Observation: The blue colour of the Dinky Thunderbird 2 model from the 1960s might not have been too far from the truth not a mistake by Dinky themselves. Researching what colour green TB2 was, an apple jack green, and it was late in the day when special effects designer Derek Meddings changed his mind from blue to green and the word hadn’t gotten through to Dinky. Now that brings an interesting question about the khaki green colours of the Dinky UFO SHADO Mobile and Moon Interceptor. With the latter, I can understand green not standing out in space and no doubt with the former in green, would be too well camouflaged in forest scenery.

 Observation: Films would finish much quicker if different decisions were taken. Take ‘Aliens’. If the salvage team were a little less scrupulous and dumped Ripley’s freezer unit, the alienship on LV-426 wouldn’t have been found and lives would have been saved. Of course, a more adult Newt might have discovered the alienship but that would have been a different story. At least the facehuggers don’t suck.

 Feeling Stressed: To cope is to survive. Sometimes instincts are better than political rhetoric.


Category: Culture

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About UncleGeoff

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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