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Oct 27

Science fiction predicting future technology…

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in Literature, Other

Hardly anyone can have missed all the articles that check off the hits and misses when it comes to predictions about technology from Back to the Future.

That started me thinking about books I’ve read and how many of those, or rather how few, that have relatively accurately predicted the time we live in today.

Since I grew up with a major sf fan I have inherited as many of dad’s old sf books as I wanted. Many of those are from the 1950’s and on.

Surprisingly many of all these books got most of today’s technology wrong.

A big exception is Arthur C Clarke who apparently has predicted so many things – not necessarily the things we use from day to day, but still, quite a bit.

I can’t say how many books supposedly set in the ‘future’, ie the 21th century, have completely missed the evolution of the personal computer, cell phones and the internet, many of them also television. Also, family structure is still stuck in the 1950’s. I found it quite funny that space ships were run by a big ship’s computer, but there was nothing else remotely ‘computerized’. There was also just one expert aboard the ship who could handle that computer – the astrogator, I think he was called. And of course it was always a ‘he’.

You’d think they would have been able to think of anything related to computers, but apparently not. There are references to ‘the cold sleep’ or ‘the long sleep’ (some kind of stasis or suspended animation), FTL-ships, all kinds of robots, clones, time travel and so on, but not computers, internet or cell phones.

However, there’s a big exception that I found really interesting. My dad had two sf books by a Russian-Swedish author named Vladimir Semitjov. He came to Sweden in 1923, so either his books were quite old when dad got his hands on them or he wrote them quite late in life – or maybe both. Anyway, they contain references to ‘video phones’ that people carry in their pockets and that is about the only time I’ve ever read anything like it in the sf classics.

I can’t say for sure if anyone has got the PC and the internet right – not out of all those older books, I think. Books written from the 1980’s and on do better, but of course that’s not all that surprising.

Jan 28

Feyland: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp

Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Books, Fantasy, Reviews

I just finished reading another fascinating and well written book on Wattpad, Feyland: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp. It’s a modern (actually futuristic) take on theĀ Tam Lin legend and the one about Thomas the Rhymer. In this story, the maiden is a girl playing a very advanced 3D computer game. She discovers to her cost that her game has a connection with Faerie. To return to Feyland, to regain what she’s lost, she needs a champion and finds it in the form of a boy at her new school. He gladly accepts her plea for help, because he’s impressed with the pretty girl and because he loves playing computer games. His personal life is complicated and at first this offer seems very attractive. After a while, he realizes the seriousness of his undertaking but accepts it anyway.

I found both characters quite easy to relate to and like, and the same goes for the boy’s other friend, a girl I don’t think is based on any character from one of the legends. In fact, all characters seem interesting, although the villain is naturally neither pleasant nor likeable. If I have any complaint about this book, it’s mainly that it could have been longer and even more developped, but that’s a minor complaint. I’m just greedy. šŸ™‚

The author sketches a realistic and depressing dystopia (the real world setting). I imagine it’s supposed to be a relatively near future (twenty-thirty years ahead maybe, though that’s just a guess).

This mix between fantasy and a future setting with advanced technology is something I really enjoy. Somehow they go well together.

Fortunately, there’s a prequel and a second book in what looks to be a trilogy about Feyland. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. If you like fantasy and technology you’ll probably enjoy it too. The books are available for purchase in several online bookstores, for instanceĀ Amazon and Smashwords, as well as for free on Wattpad.

Nov 28

Hi-tech schools rescuing an ancient language

Posted on Friday, November 28, 2014 in Links


Technology and education have a long, complicated and sometimes exaggerated relationship

Read more here.


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