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Living in the Future by Ernest Lilley
Review by Ernest Lilley
SFRevu  ISBN/ITEM#: 0709EL
Date: 01 September 2007

Links: Quirks and Quarks - Where's My Jetpack / Where's My Jetpack Review /

I forget what moved me to light verse, though it might have been listening to a promo for NPR's "Quirks and Quarks" interview with the author of Where's My Jetpack?, Daniel H. Wilson. You can follow the links above to see both the podcast and our review from last April. This month's image is the late August full moon as photographed from my balcony in Alexandria, VA with a Nikon D200 and a 18-200mm lens. If you look closely, you can see the lunar colony in Tycho.

    Living in the Future

    Just once (and hopefully before I die),
    I'd like to look out on a Cheslian sky,
    and take a ride on Von Braun's Ferris Wheel,
    or a walk on the moon (just to see if it's real).

    Now, I know the moon smells more like gunpowder than cheese,
    and the view from a spaceship is at best just a tease,
    but I miss the future we've left far behind,
    though there's no one to blame for the passage of time.

Of course, that's a bit disingenuous, because I think that the amazing world of the future is pretty amazing, and that we're on the edge of realizing a lot of the things foretold in tales of sci-fiction wonder...and not a moment too soon. The part we've missed, isn't so much how to cheat the limits of relativity, as they are how to illuminate the darkness of the human mind.

There's still an exciting future out there to be discovered, and there are still exciting and heroic adventures to be had, but we need to reframe the questions we're asking.

Science Fiction has engaged with that front too, though it's slipperier than a Venusian space eel, and harder to find than a Mercurian snow beast. Which Douglas Adams pointed out in his Hitchiker's Trilogy. Well he claimed it was a trilogy, but then he also claimed that the most powerful computer in the universe insisted that 6 x 9 = 42. Amusing though that train of thought is, I recommend Peter Watt's Blindsight for a deeper look at what it means to be human.

Imagine that you're a person, he tells us, and it turns out to be exactly the right task to engage with if we're going to find the meaning of life in the future.

    Ernest Lilley
    Sr. Editor, SFRevu
    September 1, 2007

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