Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Technology And Fiction

Contemporary novels refer to:

communications satellites;
mobile phones;
the Internet;
computer games;
"folders" and "documents" that exist only on computer screens;
computer viruses;
social media;

All of this was science fiction in (some of) our lifetimes and some sf writers anticipated various applications of computers. A novelist writing in 2016 but setting his novel just a few years in the past must carefully check the status of technology at that time in order to avoid anachronism - kind of like sf in reverse. A ghost story by Alan Moore depends on its narrator using his mobile to check the voicemail on his landline.

Poul Anderson could have written a substantial contemporary novel incorporating all of the technology while hinting that the Time Patrol was operating in the background behind all the intelligence services.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    An intriguing notion, Anderson's Time Patrol was operating in the "background" of all the rival intelligence services. Some might ask why in that case the Patrol did not manipulate the intelligence services to bring about world peace. But that was not the Patrol's job--which was to protect the history which would eventually lead to the Danellians.


    1. Sean,
      Manse Everard could appear in a contemporary novel entirely in his Engineering Studies consultant capacity.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I like that idea, and I wish Poul Anderson had thought of it.


  2. I forgot to add that I wish we had done much, much more to develop the possibilities of space. My view is not that we lack the wealth or resources to do so but the WILL.

    Even if short sighted people don't care about getting off this rock for the more philosophical reasons I could outline, it's necessary simply for practical reasons. Only if we have a serious and real "infrastructure" off Earth would we be able to possibly fend off any large comet or rock from slamming into Earth. Anyone who doesn't think Earth will again be struck by the kind of rock which wiped out the dinosaurs is being disastrously short sighted and unimaginative!