Monday, September 26, 2011

The Call to Dream Bigger

“Why would you read that?” a girl I went to school said to me when I was little more than youngling.  Even after all these years later I can still see the sneer on her face.  I had been reading a Star Trek book and for whatever reason she felt the compunction to belittle me for it. “It’s not real.  There is no benefit in the REAL world.”  I didn’t get the chance to ask her the circumstances for her lack of enthusiasm.  She simply saw no value in the story whatsoever.  This Fun Police foot soldier gave me the message and walked away.  About a month after she dispensed this sage-like advice to me she dropped out of school never to be seen or heard from again. 

However, in a startling change of pace, Gentle Reader, this blog isn’t about me – it’s about a genre that was once called “Science Fiction”.  Revelries have morphed into realities in recent days.  Long held scientific views are being questioned about the very fabric of the universe.  Basic tenants of the Science Fiction genre are falling into place in “the real world”.  This sort of surge has happened before.  Consider if you will, Mr. Jules Verne.  He was popular in his day (and to this day) for writing some pretty astonishing fiction.  I can almost here some of his readers – fans and otherwise, confronting him…  

“Pure fantasy!  Think about what you’re producing here; space travel, men on the moon, atomic energy an underwater ship that terrorizes shipping fleets, giant animals on some Mysterious Island?  Jules, you’ve got a great imagination but there is no benefit in the REAL world.” 

Verne was a visionary and he championed the cause of science fiction until it all became science fact.  Space travel, humans on the moon, atomic energy, submarine warfare, and genetics augmentations were all in the pages of Verne’s books before they were realities.  One could also point to H.G. Wells, or George Orwell, or a host of other writers for similar effect.  For whatever reason, we find ourselves in a similar state RIGHT NOW.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but this past week or so there have been some pretty monumental stories that underline the fact that we are going to have to start dreaming bigger.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Spaceport is a GO.  That means the VSS Enterprise (Virgin Space Ship) will be in orbit in the near future -

Now I just need an extra $200,000 for a ticket!

The good people from CERN (who run the Large Hadron Collider) from Geneva announced that they believe that they have found neutrinos that exceed the speed of light.  Yeah, there is the possibility that the laws of physics are about to change.  That’s the news in layman’s terms now to read what the authors of the paper (who are definitely NOT laymen) have to say here is a copy of their paper -

USS Enterprise at Warp Speed. 

Scientists at The Gallant Lab at UC Berkley are using brain scans to reconstitute video images by using an fMRI machine.  Possible translation: You will no longer have to tell us what is on your mind, we’ll just look for ourselves.  Creepy mind-video reconstruction movie here -

And then there’s the man who wants to reconstruct a dinosaur by “de-evolving” a modern chicken.  It’s the cover story on this month’s WIRED Magazine but Michael Crichton was doing the same thing in his books since 1990.  Click on this link for the full story… as WIRED says, “What could possibly go wrong?” - 

I wonder what a Chickensaurus tastes like?

Now that there is no such thing as Science Fiction perhaps the moniker “Speculative Fiction” will make a comeback?  Who’s to say?  What I really want to know; however, is with all of these potential advances in science and technology WHERE is my FLYING CAR!?


cybertrout said...

You forgot the biggest one of them all!!!!!

E. Chicken said...

GREAT SCOTT! You're right! : )