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Is Our Future Really Dystopian?   Leave a comment

Japanese Robot

One can argue that this is a great time for things dystopian. There’s a lot of discord in this world and in our country in particular. School shootings seem to happen so frequently they hardly get a notice in the news. Climate change is a reality more than a concept. Now measles is roaring back…is smallpox next? And superviruses and superbacteria threaten us all, with no cures or countermeasures in sight. Racial tensions are again on the rise, while the gig economy undermines workers’ abilities to save for the future or just be secure.

And so on…

It’s easy to picture a future without hope or purpose. I’m even going through a rough patch myself and wonder if there’s any sparkle left to dream about. Any one of those scenarios above could make great fodder for a novel. And have.

But just image if one day we all took stock of what we have and set about to make it right. Make changes that benefit all, not a precious few. Pollyanna as that sounds, one rather famous series used an evolved humankind as its background. Yes, that’d be Star Trek. In it, those who inhabit the Earth (and not necessarily humans) have eschewed wealth for equality and humanity. Sure, each episode mirrored what’s happened here on the home planet, but the outcomes often were positive, if not hopeful.

Would it even, I daresay, be an odd sort of dystopia if everything went right and nothing went wrong? Can you imagine? Sure, it’d be boring but the movie Pleasantville is based on a premise of a perfect TV world turned upside-down with the introduction of color.

I suppose it’s somehow easier to believe things’ll blow up than to bloom. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that you or me don’t have it so bad as they will in the future. Or in the past. Or on planet Zorthon. Think about it. Isn’t it cathartic to complain? A downhill slide from justice into injustice, because somehow society needs to be punished. Bombs will blow, diseases will conquer, war will end all.

Again, does it have to?

There are a few simple things we, as humans, can do to change things. They are (in no particular order):

  • Don’t like who’s in office? Vote! Or better yet, run yourself. Take an interest in your town, your county, your state, your nation. Because, believe it or not, your vote matters. Ditto for…
  • You don’t like it that school kids are being shot? Or our environment’s being polluted at a crazy rate? Or something else? Contact your congressman, senator, mayor, governor or even president. You might get the runaround. Attend town halls or village meetings. Speak up. Make your voice heard. And if that doesn’t work, see the above point.
  • Stop wasting everything. Buy enough food that you’ll actually eat so it doesn’t turn into a dystopian event in the fridge. Use one sheet of a paper towel roll instead of two. Or better yet, use a rag and wash it out. Buy household paper that’s been sourced from recycled paper.
  • Don’t litter.
  • Walk instead of drive…if you can. It’s better for you in a myriad of ways. And don’t run the car. Turn it off.
  • Here’s something to ponder: Toothbrushes. Count up the number of toothbrushes you use in a year. Six? Eight? More? Then count the number your family uses. Add that up. Now apply that number to everyone on your street. Or multiply that by the population of your town. Or the population of the United States (or whatever country you happen to live in. You throw all of that away and it lands in a landfill. It lasts longer than humankind. All for clean teeth. What’s the solution? While there are bamboo toothbrushes, which is a step in the right direction, we need to come up with something better.
  • Ditto with needles – the injecting kind – but that’s human waste…and dangerous. But it’s not recyclable either.
  • Or baby diapers. An infant goes through thousands. Add that number up by the number of births in one year. All going to the landfill…

Before you get totally depressed, all of the above can be changed. This is a nation of innovation, or was, anyway. We still can be. Let’s hand it to the upcoming generation of engineers and scientists (and anyone else who’s inspired to join in) and create/invent materials that will biodegrade and/or can be developed from renewable sources.

And maybe, our future will be that much cleaner, clearer and less dystopian.

Amazon is Evil. Authors are Starving. We’re All Gonna Die! (A rant)   Leave a comment

via Amazon is Evil. Authors are Starving. We’re All Gonna Die! (A rant)

Posted February 10, 2019 by seleneymoon in Uncategorized

Otherworldly   Leave a comment

trappist-7Trappist-1 System – NASA

By now, everyone’s heard the news – there’s seven new planets to consider in the universe. We’ve all read the headlines. Seven lovely orbs holding potential for life, only a mere 40 light years away! Why, that’s practically next door! And some of them hold the potential for life? Incredible.

While it’s nice to consider that we have an escape plan  to another world, it’s kind of unreasonable to expect to get to any one of these places anytime soon. Sure, we’re all expecting to hop on a space ship in the next couple of dozen years and arrive at planet du jour within a Einstein’s calculated period. And Lord knows that the folks behind Prometheus  practically guarantee travel to new Edens (although not without some pesky grey, hissing creatures with a penchant for sucking people’s innards and faces).

Are there wormholes to get us to these places quicker? Could be. Interstellar makes an excellent argument for that. If those wormholes do exist, the common folk won’t hear about them, at least not yet. Existing in theory and written about aplenty, I’ve no doubt these gateways to universal superhighways are around somewhere.

How then, is it possible to construct a vehicle to travel within the confines of a wormhole? Sure, we can throw a ship together – that’s the easy part. I’m wondering how a ship might be able to withstand whatever that wormhole throws at it – pressure gradients, temperature, forces binding the wormhole together. Or suppose the wormhole is a perpetual vortex that leads to nothingness? Once trapped inside, the travelers can’t break free and are subjected to extremes not even imagined?

Could there be different categories of wormholes? There must be. Just as there’s different types of highways, roads and streets, wormholes have characteristics. Some may be dead ends, short jaunts or long, winding roads. There could be ones that have celestial potholes, breaks, connect at junctions or turn back on themselves.

Suppose we do discover a wormhole in the neighborhood of Jupiter, as mentioned in Interstellar. Do we send our best and brightest through it just to see what happens? Do we travel to the unknown hoping to reap the benefits of what other places and methods of navigation can teach us? How do we steer our crafts, once caught in a wormhole if we don’t fully understand what they are in the first place? What is speculation and reality? Or will time trick us to believe there is a light at the end of the wormhole, only to find out we’re no longer able to function because of the forces of the universe bearing down on us? If we’re not able to return to Earth, what good is the journey to begin with?

Eventually, some intrepid group of astronauts will go forth to see what’s out there. We may never hear from them again. But they might find another system such as Trappist-1, and create a world that no citizen of Earth may ever be so fortunate to imagine.

The Stone Wall – A Short Attention Span Sci-Fi Story   Leave a comment

It was generally considered good form by the people of the village to engage in proper manners, especially in public. Therefore, when Mrs. Cottilard accidentally trod upon Mrs. Heflig’s front…

Source: The Stone Wall – A Short Attention Span Sci-Fi Story

Posted September 10, 2016 by seleneymoon in Uncategorized

The Stone Wall – A Short Attention Span Sci-Fi Story   Leave a comment

It was generally considered good form by the people of the village to engage in proper manners, especially in public. Therefore, when Mrs. Cottilard accidentally trod upon Mrs. Heflig’s front…

Source: The Stone Wall – A Short Attention Span Sci-Fi Story

Posted September 9, 2016 by seleneymoon in Uncategorized

Babylon Connection   Leave a comment

Babylon Jupiter Tablet

Credit: Trustees of the British Museum/Mathieu Ossendrijver; NASA (both as shown in the New York Times)

Today I read in the New York Times an article about ancient Babylonians tracking the movement of Jupiter. It’s a remarkable discovery because the tablets dating from 350 BC to 50 BC (above is an example) revealed sophisticated mathematical equations comparing the motion of Jupiter across the sky. Cuneiform pressed into clay tablets detailed a graph which calculated the velocity of Jupiter’s travels in a given time. It was originally thought that this sort of calculus was first used in the Middle Ages.

Marduk

Babylonians called Jupiter Marduk, the god of water, vegetation, judgement and magic. If you think about it, all four of those things might have been intensely important to a city-state. The fortunes of any population depend upon its ability to feed itself, and during dry times Marduk’s powers might have been called upon ensure the Tigris and the Euphrates kept flowing. Otherwise, without growing crops, it might have taken a bit of magic to keep the peace, and judgement must have come swiftly if Babylon’s citizens acted in a way not befitting of its patron god.

Marduk, I’ll have you know, didn’t come by his godship easily. It’s a bit obscure how he came into being as a mythological entity and it seems he went by 50 other names. During a civil war between the gods, Marduk, as a young god, offered his services to the Anunnaki gods, telling them he’d defeat the other warring gods and bring order. In return, they’d make Marduk the head god. Arming himself with all the elements and forces of nature, Marduk emerged victorious and took his rightful place as the one all others showed deference.

Somewhere in here’s a great story waiting to be written. No, not the trope where the ancient tablet is picked up by some unsuspecting archeologist or museum security guard and all hell (literally) breaks loose. Here’s my idea:

These hunks of clay talk to people via an ancient language known only to a few. An elderly professor, trying to prove he’s still relevant, goes into a collection and uncovers a cuneiform tablet no larger than a slice of stale bread. He’s seen it thousands of times, but realizes it’s been misinterpreted. A chip off of a corner, missing for years, turns up and changes the entire meaning of the message. It’s a message from Marduk himself, who foresees a wonderful vision that will only arise under exact circumstances. The elderly professor tries to show his revelation to the department dean, who dismisses him and accuses him of dementia-related hallucinations. Another professor, also getting along in years, is the only person who believes him. Trouble is, this person is on the other side of the globe and speaks another language. The two can only communicate, it turns out, in cuneiform symbol script. Both have age-related illnesses and it’s only a matter of time the two of them work together to solve the problem and bring the prophecy to life.

Will they?

 

An (Overly Simple) Explanation of the Difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy   Leave a comment

Here’s a quick reblog of a quick explanation of the difference between science fiction and fantasy, and I happen to like it very much. It might take you a minute to read, but the content will stick with you for good.

Jeremiah Kleckner ~ CynicalScifi.com

I had a conversation with an author friend of mine about this yesterday.  There are differences between science fiction and fantasy, but few understand how to explain those differences.

Definitions

Dictionary.com defines Science Fiction as “aformoffictionthatdrawsimaginativelyonscientificknowledgeand speculationinitsplot,setting,theme,etc.”

Meanwhile, Wikipedia states that “Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting.”

Both definitions are adequate enough.  However, the most important factor in distinguishing the difference between the two is also the simplest.

The (Overly Simple) Explanation

It is all in how the author explains the characters and the situations.

Don’t believe me?  Try this…

519a0-hulk-scatena-la-sua-rabbia-in-una-scena-del-film-l-incredibile-hulk-61199Hulk steps out onto a street and throws a car.  He can do this because his cells are juiced with gamma radiation.  He’s a science fiction character.

Thor_Lifts_BoulderThor steps out…

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Posted May 11, 2015 by seleneymoon in Uncategorized

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