Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Like When Reality Beats Science Fiction

Alvin Toffler always said the future always gets here too fast and in the wrong order. So get ready for some trope-and-quote mixin': "The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy."

I wouldn't spot this easy. If you don't know there are terminators around and you're not generally fearful of all humanoids, then assuming they can get it to walk, it could get close to you for a few seconds before it failed the Turing test or you noticed something was wrong. By then, too late. Even if they can't get it to walk convincingly, they can get it to at least crawl like an injured soldier, which would also excuse it from having to talk intelligibly for any length of time. By "they" I mean "government with resources to build this weapon" or (much worse) as always, "Skynet". Not ready for prime time right now, which is unfortunately. It would be kind of funny if in the first war between humans and terminators, the real John Connor was one of Gaddafi's men.

There are those who explain away obviated science fiction as alternative history, but that's weak. Steampunk, as much as I hate it, is alternate history, because you know it didn't happen that way when you're writing it. Hugo Gernsback or H.G. Wells is not alternate history, it's just wrong predictions. To his credit, in the Ender's Game universe (most of which was written when geopolitics changed around the end of the Cold War) Orson Scott Card put in something about the "New Soviet Union". Still, interesting to live in a world where a science fiction writer's futuristic-sounding ideas are sometimes behind the curve of technology that's actually being developed in commercial labs. (Building proteins out of D-amino acids? OLD NEWS BUDDY!)

No comments: