Our Gilded Golden Age

What a time we live in. The ancient Chinese proverb of living during “interesting times” comes to mind whenever I think about our current century. What wonders we have, for better or worse. The data which we have at our fingertips still shocks me. The generation before mine must have an even harder time thinking about how far we’ve come.

I first used a computer in fourth grade. My elementary school had a small room on the second floor where two rows of computers were set up for students to work and learn from. Twenty six years later they are so persuasive that you can barely find common household items that don’t have some electronic addition to them. This trend is not going away either. Soon enough it will be commonplace for people to have electronic additions to themselves – replacement eyes, implanted body monitors, and true cybernetic limbs. Perhaps one day humanity will figure out how to remove the need for the biological body altogether.

There will be detractors of course – ones we’ll end up calling “mortals” or some other hip new word. If you had the opportunity to shed your mortal form and not die, would you? For artists and many others I’m sure the answer would be an immediate yes. A new question might emerge:

What it is like to die of old age?

When it does become possible, will it be a good thing? From all the data on overpopulation I’ve seen, my guess is no. Earth already struggles to have room for the people it has now, and it’s not like humanity is going to stop having children. This will lead us all to a point where the food supply is in danger, and then look out. Most people in metropolitan areas have no idea where their food comes from, let alone what they would do without a supermarket or restaurant close by. Humans are no longer the hunters they once were, which is understandable given all the convenience we have around us. Why go to all the trouble? We’ve been born into a world that has all the things we might need at the ready, provided we can pay for it.

In that potential future where man has transcended death through biological means, does food become a luxury item? Cybernetic creatures might not have the need for anything more than an outlet to plug their batteries into, so what would the point of a supermarket be? I love the “What if” scenarios. The possibilities of what humanity could pervert itself into next have always intrigued me.

I spent Friday night with Emalee at Tinker Swiss Cottage. Jonathan Eller the Director and General Editor for the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies was giving a discussion on The October Country, one of Bradbury’s collected works. What struck me about an author I’ve read fairly well were all the things I’d never known. Bradbury’s book on writing – a series of collected essays – are powerful and not just for writers. Eller has done a lifetime of work in the decades he’s worked on the Bradbury Center, and if you are a fan stop by and donate to them. I’d suggest any creative person to delve into his works and pull out the truths that are kept in those pages. Bradbury loved the “What if” stories. So many of his stories are based on small things his brain took on wild rides.

That’s what life is, a series of wild rides. The tracks go up and down or in different directions completely sometimes, but until we become immortal cybernetic beings you plug in next to the Xbox, we’re on a ride. I encourage you to get the most out of life. Suck the marrow out of every bone you find. Live life unfettered by the chains of mental self-oppression. Because up until that point of transcendence, death is undefeated, and I can’t wait to see his face when his scythe is no longer needed.

Addendums
– the pilot episode writing is going very well. I’m looking forward to finishing up and unleashing it on the studios of Hollywood and beyond. I may post a few pages up on my blog in the future for people to read and get the feel of what the book series will be like after translation. I hope fans understand I can’t come at the television series the same way I did the novels. Perhaps if I was writing them as movies, but I feel it stands stronger in an episodic series rather than a movie.