Monday, August 17, 2015

Reading

I am an avid science fiction reader and my favorite authors include the regulars like Asimov, Clarke, Haldeman, Baxter, Robert Charles Wilson, Maria Doria Russell,  and many others.  I have read most of everything they written.

I have found a new author, Cixin Liu, a revered Chinese writer whose concepts of the future are bold and innovative.  I am currently on the second book of his beloved Trilogy in China that started with "The Three Body Problem."  In the second volume, "The Dark Forest", in which mankind is trying to prepare for an Alien invasion force that will arrive in four hundred years.  The aliens apologetically let earth know that they really need the planet since theirs has become unlivable because of a dying sun.  They are incredibly advanced are pretty sure they will walk over us.

Liu really lets one in on the the way the Chinese think in his books.  That is, the long term view of everything they undertake.   Not the way we are doing things in this country.  We look to the next quarters profits or the next election in which email is the main issue discussed rather than climate change or poverty.

One of his characters posits,

"The outcome of natural biological evolution requires at least twenty thousand years to manifest itself, but human civilization has just five thousand years of history, and modern technological civilization just two hundred. That means that the study of modern science today is being done by the brain of primitive man."

Now, that is pretty scary when you really think about it.  And one can only wonder if it is worse than that given the state of our politics and media.  Think Donald Trump here, and the news directors and producers of broadcast news.  

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

That's actually what the Chinese are doing, too. As we watch our infrastructure decay around us they're constructing a massive high speed rail system that will span the Eurasian land mass and link all parts of Europe, Russia, the Middle East and India with China's industrial cities. It will not only cut weeks off transit times but let them avoid US controlled sea lanes. I've blogged about this in the past month or so.

Another example: they've quietly been building a lot of infrastructure in the sleeping giant Africa. The payoff on things like these are a long way out.

It's odd. Most of us in our personal lives think long term. We do preventive maintenance, spend the weekend making a walkway so we won't have to walk through the mud next time it rains. It's when we act as a group that we fall down. I'd be interested to find out how Cixin Liu sees society coming together to fight the aliens, or if they will.

Natural disasters always bring Americans together, not to take care of the disaster but to tell each other how natural disasters bring Americans together.