Saturday, January 01, 2011

Not much science and even less fiction.

Dealing with a bout of insomnia the other night, I lay awake in bed reading a thirty-year-old Pournelle-edited anthology of short stories and essays entitled The Survival of Freedom. Included in the collection is a story written in the late '70s by F. Paul Wilson entitled "Lipidleggin'", in which a dystopian future America has national health care and has banned cholesterol from food; the the story's protagonist is an antique dealer who is now running a profitable sideline in bootleg butter and eggs.

Now I'm living in a future America with national health care, where cities have banned trans-fats, it's against the law for me to throw electronics in the garbage, and people are discussing hoarding and smuggling 100-watt light bulbs.

What a total ripoff. I wanted the future with the flying cars, not the one with telescreens and Room 101.

22 comments:

og said...

You want flying cars? Are you INSANE? Have you SEEN the way people drive?

I was hoping for the future with 20 foot flying predators. Much safer than the future where anencephalic high school dropouts chugging back a 40 and sucking on a spliff can fly their primer grey ricer over your HOUSE. And more amusing.

Unless, of course, we could combine the two. I bet you could take out a ricer with a 22 tracer to a fuel tank.

buzz said...

og beat me to it.
You don't want people texting and flying cars, so the government has hidden the technology away in Area 51.

Regarding America: We got what we allowed to happen. With "progressives" controlling the media and education, did you really think the result would be any different? 3 successive generations being spoon-fed the same leftist oatmeal and Ex-Lax had only one possible result. -The working, thinking remainder is forever stuck with wiping a never-ending flow of undigested fiber from the once-free world's sphincter.

perlhaqr said...

It's like I said last year.

I made it to 2010 and all I got from the SF books of my youth was the lousy dystopian government.

Only now they've turned it up to '11.

ExurbanKevin said...

I remember that collection very well. Pournelle did the world a big favour when brought all those stories together in one place.

D.W. Drang said...

@Buzz: I'd buy that for a quarter!

buzz said...

@perlhaqr:

Nice! I think that might have to go on a shirt.

Phssthpok said...

Lipidleggin' can be found, in it's entirety at the link below, among several other freedom related writings:

http://www.billstclair.com/DoingFreedom/df.authorindex.html

Lergnom said...

'Lipidleggin'is available on the web.
http://billstclair.com/DoingFreedom/000623/df.0600.fa.lipidleggin.html

One of my all time favorites, along with RAH's 'On the Slopes of Vesuvius'.

Kristopher said...

Flying car? I want a nuclear-powered SUV.

GuardDuck said...

We have met the future and it is us.

theirritablearchitect said...

If there are those who'd say you were paranoid about what's clearly, you know, happening in the real world, I'd be sure to point out that you are awake, rather than being asleep at the wheel.

Phssthpok said...

The only difference between preparation and paranoia is whether or not you are (were) correct.

perlhaqr said...

Buzz: http://www.cafepress.com/perlhaqr.425419704#

Or yoink the idea and make your own, I don't really care. :)

Jenny said...

Look on the bright side.

You know when you were a kid, and saw the "plucky rebels shooting at the Empire" story?

Yeah, well.....

Blackwing1 said...

I dug my old copy out of the bookshelf in the computer room to see if Pournelle had written an introduction to it...nope, he simply quoted Mill's "On Liberty" as a preface.

Dunno about yours, but my copy is yellowed and in the first stages of disintegration from the high-acid paper. I must have bought it after the Great Fire of '83 (in which I lost all my books), but it's dated 1981. Sad to think that SF-readers have been looking at the losses of our freedoms for thirty years, while the non-readers are only now just starting to catch on..if they really are.

Joseph said...

At least we didn't get the future in which nuclear-winter, the incipient Ice Age, resource shortages, the devolution of the human race, and the heat death of the universe were going to wipe out Civilization as We Know It.

Of course, in this universe we have robotic vaccum cleaners, a computer as chess grandmaster, dental implants (teeth bonded to the bone were only seen in Isaac Asimov's science fiction a few decades ago), and even a Red Sox World Series victory.

Tam said...

Joseph,

"At least we didn't get the future in which nuclear-winter, the incipient Ice Age, resource shortages, the devolution of the human race, and the heat death of the universe were going to wipe out Civilization as We Know It."

Give it a minute, willya?

Buzz said...

I disagree, Joseph.
We've embraced devolution (WWE, reality shows, the poorest/dumbest procreating faster than the richest/smartest, celebrity government leaders) and there are many resources not far from depletion. (human intelligence being up near the top of list)

theirritablearchitect said...

"...while the non-readers are only now just starting to catch on...if they really are..."

Don't hold your breath.

Joseph said...

IQs keep rising anyway.

This may be due to underpaid grad students picking up extra money by donating sperm.

Tam said...

"IQs keep rising anyway."

Which factoid mostly serves to call into question the validity of IQ tests as a measurement of anything meaningful...

Anonymous said...

DOUBLETHINK... The future is double bad...