Posted on April 17, 2017
Posted by John Scalzi
Missed any of last week’s Reader Request Week posts? Here’s the whole set for your perusal.
Reader Request Week 2017 #1: Punching Nazis
Reader Request Week 2017 #2: Those Darn Millennials
Reader Request Week 2017 #3: Utopias
Reader Request Week 2017 #4: Haters and How I Deal With Them
Reader Request Week 2017 #5: Remembering Dreams
Reader Request Week 2017 #6: Reading as Performance
Reader Request Week 2017 #7: Parents, Their Age, and Their Kids
Reader Request Week 2017 #8: The Path to Publication
Reader Request Week 2017 #9: Writery Short Bits
Reader Request Week 2017 #10: Short Bits
(In case you’ve forgotten how the scroll wheel on your mouse works.)
Stephen Baxter and Arthur C Clark wrote an interesting book on the death of privacy, where an invention allowed the viewing (but not audio) of any event currently taking place. It worked using tiny, ad hoc wormholes just larger than the wavelength of visible light.
At first this invention was used by a single corporation for immense competitive advantage, but eventually, the secret got out and every corporation had it. Then, as with most tech, the price began to fall so everyone had it. And they figured out how to get sound by its effect on the light waves. And they found out how to also view any event in the past as well as the present. So, almost no secrets were safe from scrutiny.
The one event that no one could seem to view was the crucifixion of “Yeshua.” Apparently, it was because too many people in the present and future were trying to see it, and there wasn’t room to open the tiny wormholes!
Asimov wrote a short story where the government worked as hard as it could to prevent anyone to develop a similar invention (although it only worked for a short time backwards). Since it was easily reproducible once the secret was out, it was implied that any kind of privacy was now dead. It cheerfully ended with something like ”Happy goldfish bowl to you, to me, to everyone, and may you burn in hell forever.”
Not that I am sure what this has to do with the subject, but still.
(And now I realize what Kevin Baileys comment had to do with one of the short bits in the pieces. Oh well.)
Sten: “The Dead Past“. And don’t forget T. L. Sherred’s “E for Effort“.
*Sigh* Too late too put a suggestion in for this year, but if you’d ever like to comment on the idea of “Public Lending Right” (or have previously and I’ve missed it). I’d be interested to know what you think of it, especially since library lending of e-books counts towards it in some countries.
Since total surveillance technology in SF is being referenced, a shoutout for Bob Shaw’s “slow glass”, explored in ‘Light of Other Days’ (1966), ‘Burden of Proof’ (1967), and Other Days, Other Eyes (1972).
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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