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Editorial – December 2018 : Brave New World.

December 2, 2018 | By | 2 Replies More

Hello everyone

Trying to find some topic to end the year on in the editorial has been hard this time around. With the world falling apart, it has a feeling of being Nero playing his violin or whatever he was doing back then as Rome burns if I write something too light. Mind you, that is supposed to be a fiction so maybe he kept the fire going because bricks don’t burn. The history of reality doesn’t always stay the same as depicted.

With current reality looking more like something from Science Fiction, you do have to wonder what else is going to crop up from our genre next. We have a current catastrophe tearing the world apart with climate change. A population that is increasingly wondering what is going on, whom to trust or just ignoring it, hoping things will just go away.

We even have a possible alien incursion if the suspicions about the Zen-like named asteroid Oumaumau turns out to be an alien probe. Then there would be two options: would the aliens be visiting to see how advanced we are or because we didn’t interact by having a look, consider us not really bothering with and visit the gas giants for a fuel stop instead. Those are probably the safest two options. If they want real estate in a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, we would all be in trouble.

We haven’t had a real technological disaster yet although what I’ve been reading about Artificial Intelligence and smart-tech this month in the book ‘Genius Weapons’ and certainly the countries that haven’t signed up for non-use of weapons in space would worry anyone. Certainly our use and improvements in technology is getting even non-tech users depending on it is changing the shape of society. This is getting to the stage where even young children are going to master computer-tech as a way of life. One can only hope old-fashioned things like writing and reading books aren’t forgotten or seen as an archaism.

Going through the sub-genres, we have SF black comedies. You always have to wonder how things got into that state for the events to happen. With ‘Dr. Strangelove’, it’s an escalation of single events getting out of control. Mind you, perspective has changed since then. Communication is more instantaneous now and so is the speed of people reacting to it, thanks to the Internet. Disasters happen faster and we can see them happening. What is really worrying is wondering if enough people are worried or are they just pressing the ‘don’t know’ button than thinking for themselves. Occasionally, I do wonder if my generation at school had the best education and it’s all gone down the tubes since. Even so, you do have to wonder if there is some big plot going on behind the scenes that makes sense of what is going on in the world at the moment. That alone is enough to make you wonder if paranoia should be a way of life and someone or something is out to get you.

There is some consolation at this time of year, no nation plans to cause a nuclear holocaust and spoil the parties and opening the new year but if it does, it would certainly be the first and last time. That should make partying popular for those of you who enjoy such things. It should make you wonder if there is a peace this time of year, why can’t it be all the year around?

If it isn’t going to be the 17 sub-genres of Science Fiction, then we need to look at particular trope associated with it. Namely, fudging. Nothing to do with a sweet tooth but the one major lie that you have to accept in any SF. Do we have one or many in our current reality? Having a single lie could be used here as well. Maybe not exceeding the speed of light or time travel but something believable enough to be true. Hmm…we got some choices there, haven’t we? More so as some political leaders insist on keeping their heads in the sand regarding climate warming. If that isn’t going on then what is causing such rapid weather changes that we didn’t have a decade ago. Ignore scientists at our peril and we might as well let the icecaps complete their meltdown. Don’t forget, it can always be more than one lie going on in the world. We need a lot more honest news on the Internet and not have to dig such things out as if they are as rare as a dragon’s flaming breath.

One thing. There’s no way we can turn the clock back and put things right in a trice. Normality has gone forever. Real life problems, like climate change, will take decades to stop and we can only hope that mankind will be alive to see it or nature will have to sort things out for a few centuries. We have to accept that there are no ready answers to the world’s problems, just long term solutions. Saying that, things are getting bad when some world leaders don’t understand this, let alone listen to their scientific advisors who say things have to be done. Leaving it for another generation and passing the buck will ultimately leave nothing that can be done. Now that is plain scary and we’ve moved into a post-apocalyptic reality and very few of a world population left to cope. They’ll be paying too much time with their games anyway. No doubt they would be cursing our generation for not taking more care of our world. Didn’t I write something like this in the previous paragraph? Maybe saying things twice will up the google score.

Reality is getting crazier but, hopefully, because we have SF in our blood we might at least will keep our feet levitating above the ground. Better to be optimistic than pessimistic although we need a balance of both. Science is shaping the world and maybe more should be done to ensure scientists are allowed more freedom do save our planet. It’s either that or hope the aliens are coming and they might not be so nice when they see how we’re ruining the world. We put trust in deities coming to sort things out but we might not always like the solutions they offer.

 

Thank you, take care, good night and at least with black comedy we can sigh that it isn’t going to happen to us…maybe.

Let me, as usual, wish you a hopeful new year.

 

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

 

A Zen thought: I like the chances in Hell.

 

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: To realise stopgaps are only temporary.

 

The Reveal: Kettles are not always black. A lot of the time they are silver shiny things.

 

Observation: We must stop all the ocean and sea pollution, if only to save the mermaids.

 

Observation: Is it my imagination or is there less new SF novels out there this season?

 

Feeling Stressed: Life is there to be lived while you can.

 

 

 

Category: Offworld Report, World getting weirder

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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.

Comments (2)

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  1. Julian White says:

    Thank you for that thoughtful commentary! My husband is a big conspiracy/paranoia buff (but then he’s also a fan of UFO/ancient alien programmes… ); my attitude tends to veer more towards ‘sheer stupidity’ rather than ‘deliberate suppression of technology/information’.

    Sadly I can’t see much chance of an immediate improvement, especially in the climate change area.

    Your post-editorial comment: There have always been fewer SF novels than I’d like – certainly more fantasy. That may be improving with the growth of self-publishing and digital platforms – not that that is a guarantee of improved quality! – but of course that brings me more and more into conflict with the Amazon monolith…

    Thanks for your words during the year – and best wishes for 2019 when we get there!

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Julian
    Looking at what I’ve put on-line today in that light, I really must have gone heavy thinking this month overall although it wasn’t intentional. It was just me being me.

    Re: ‘mainstream’ SF. You do have to wonder why SF publishers aren’t making more effort to get SF novels in their schedules. Hopefully, someone will get the message.

    Hopeful times.
    Geoff

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