Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Science Fiction?

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-Lazarus Long in "Time Enough For Love" (Robert A. Heinlein)

Science Fiction is what drives me forward with the cry: "Why Can't We Do This NOW?" It's not just about adventure, it's about where and how the adventure is happening.

Why aren't we on the moon? Why can't everybody in the world have high-speed internet? Why does Humanity, on the whole and taking one thing with another, suck? Will I live forever? When?

Take a look at that list. I can do about half of it, with a broad definition of 'program a computer'. But just by reading that list I can see where I can go, what I can do. Pick up any piece of science fiction, and you see that glimmer of an idea (sometimes in the form of an unsubtle anvil or negative exemplar) of what you yet need to do. Or what We yet must do.

Why Science Fiction? Because one day...


Shout-outs are in order for helpful Alpha Wreaders Ben Godby and Nicholas Rose. Any critters who want a taste of the David Barron magic can check out "Laterally", up this week by MPC on Critters Writers Workshop. The quest for Alphas continues.

A picture of a restaurant, unrelated to the quest.

500 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long To Die" - chapter twelve
- - - -
Reading - "Freedom's Landing" (Anne McCaffrey)


  1. Heinlein and the men and women (and characters!) of his day lived in a different world. They had to work harder than most of the world does now, in respect to so many things. As for Lazarus' list, while I can't attest to my own life, I've attampted all but one in my writing, and I'm not sure if my readers would be interested in the finer details of hog butchery. :)

  2. Alas! For that world. A secondary Alas for my basic incompetence in the face of it.

    But at least we have the Internet. I see that 'blogging' was not on Heinlein's list of essential human skills. A rare oversight from the master.

    As for hog butchery, the scent of Challenge is in the water. If C.S.Lewis could do it in "Till We Have Faces", I can too.


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