I jumped right back into my work after my vacation, which meant I couldn’t afford to really stop to recover. It caught up to me Friday night when I totally ran out of spoons. It wasn’t terrible though — I spent the weekend sleeping, visiting with my cat, not putting the laundry away (whoops), and mostly reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312.
I was a fan of his Mars trilogy, and though this book isn’t explicitly a sequel, it fits in a timeline neatly after those books. It’s part of a class of science fiction that looks at the big questions like ‘What does it mean to be human?’ Another important question Robinson seems to enjoy is ‘What if we had the power to fix our problems?’ (while secretly urging the reader to consider that maybe we already do).
A lot of great science fiction (or speculative fiction if you want to include fantasy) starts with a ‘What if?’ This is a kind of wish fulfillment, but where a good piece of writing departs from the juvenile is by examining the consequences of those actions. Look at Season 3 of The Wire for an example of very near-future science fiction that examines the question, ‘What if we legalized drugs in just one neighborhood?’
When satiric presidential candidate Vermin Supreme marched with Occupy Austin in the annual Million Musician March For Peace, he temporarily stumped the crowd with a what if of his own.
“What do we want?” he asked over the bullhorn.
“Peace!” we said, obviously.
“When do we want it?”
“NOW!” we shouted back.
Vermin: “What are we going to do if we get it?”
What questions are you thinking about tonight? What are the consequences of your wishes?
This is tonight’s open thread. Share what’s on your mind.