Sunday, April 06, 2003
It can be very dangerous to offer opinions on subjects you don't know anything about. I'm reading an article by Mark Ridley about why, scientifically, we've never had it so good, and I'm thinking, ah, finally an article that my SF writer friends would, on the whole, agree with (most SF writers being such because they rather like the future, and think it's a good, or at least an interesting place, and that the sorting out of some problems just makes others that are fun to write about), and then I got to the bit where I learned who to blame for people being scared of the future and thinking that things have only got worse since 1903...

"Novelists and screen writers have a lot to answer for. How many movies have you seen set in the future in which you thought - what a nice place to live? Thought not.

The future is always depicted as a place where a technical fix has gone wrong, where androids stalk a devastated urban landscape. I have recently noticed a lot of people suddenly worrying about nanotechnology. Could Michael Crichton's "Prey" have anything to do with this?"

Oh, right. I thought. An idiot.

Which may have been an unfair reaction, but is one that is perfectly justifiable. And, because suspension of disbelief is much more important in non-fiction than it is in fiction, my suspension of disbelief for the entire article went out the window.