Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Been reading two very interesting stories recently, both exploring a sorta utopia created in the future by technology.

First up, The Trigger, a machine that can stop guns from working. Put any explosive device in the Trigger's field and it will explode before you can even touch it. This effectively stops guns from working, coz even if you fire from afar, as long as the target is in the field, the bullet will denote once it reaches the boundaries of the field.

No more guns, no more missiles, no more nuclear warhead threats.

A utopia eh.. not so. There will always be people who wants to hold on to their guns, there will always be people who likes to be in control.

I'm halfway through the story, so shall not speculate too much and just enjoy the master storyteller at his best.

Beggars in Spain is a short story written by Nancy Kress, she later expanded it into a novel, which I'm so going to get.

I love the way she uses technology to explore the future, where everything and anything is possible if we're not humans. But as all of us are humans, emotions comes into the picture, what's a miracle to A is a sin to B, there's not right or wrong, just various shades of gray.

In her story, she explored the possibility of genetic modification to eradicate sleep, yes, no more sleep is required, the newborn can go on doing their work all day long. Of course rest is needed, but no longer do they have to switch off their minds and sleep a third of their lives away.

These children are called Sleepless. And the irony is that I read this story till 2 in the morning for I could not get to sleep :p

These children do not need to sleep for all the detox functions that the body does are done when they are awake. For I can't remember why, these children are generally more intelligent and mentally stable, they are rationale beings who think and generally does better than normal people (Sleepers).

Think about it, being able to go on and on, without having to sleep. You can work throughout the night, taking small breaks now and then and not feel tired and the need to sleep. It's unimaginable for someone like me who loves to sleep, but if given a chance, how many people would jump at this opportunity?

Not being able to sleep does not mean that the Sleepless have less fun, it just means that they have more time to do the things that they want to do. We always complain that there's not enough hours in a day for us to complete our work, just imagine the possibilities now.

These books are the reason why I like SF. SF is not a narrow field confined to Star Wars and Star Trek, SF is a very wide field that encompasses so many things and at the heart of it, all writers are humans and we all want a good life. Through the narratives of the story, they explore the future, they explore what can be and what should not be. Technology is so entrenched in our lives now, without it, I doubt many will have the skills to survive, especially me. I depend so much on technology, and I believe eventually it will lead us to utopia.

One day, through technology, we will finally be able to find peace. At peace with each other and at peace with ourselves.

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