I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person. It’s always fun to follow the convoluted logic back to the source and see how the facts are bent to make the conclusion seem logical. Sometimes there was a communications glitch that has been fixated on or inconsistency in a retelling that gets blown out of all proportion.
There is, however, one conspiracy I’m starting to consider more and more probable. That is the conspiracy to spread the idea that the moon-landing was a hoax. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think for a second that the moon landing was faked… there is way too much evidence to even consider that vaguely plausible. For example, the reflectors left behind for measuring the exact distance between the earth and moon.
But that’s not to say there isn’t a conspiracy. Before Bill Kaysing released his book ‘We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle’ there was no real suggestion that the moon landings and Apollo missions were anything other than they appeared. After that the cult of moon-hoax became strangely persistent, resisting every reasonable attempt to illuminate the ignorance behind it. Maybe people just like the dark, find it comforting, find it empowering knowing that they are a special little snowflake, made important by being part of the chosen few who know the ‘truth’ that everyone else is too blinded by logic to see.
Open your eyes sheeple, you’re being lied to, Soylent Green is made of people!!!
Ahem… where was I?
Oh yes, the conspiracy. Let’s take a look at it. In the 60’s and 70’s, America beat its rival to the moon, an impressive accomplishment for both technical and social reasons. Once the race was won the budget dried up and the moon dropped off the list of ‘things to do to prove we’re awesome’. An accomplishment that the world had watched, had cheered on, and that had inspired a new generation of wannabe engineers, astronauts and explorers just kind of faded away. But, bare with me here, perhaps that wasn’t just a factor of the public’s fickle interest. Maybe this was ‘assisted’.
Sure we haven’t reached the sort of technologically advanced future that Sci-Fi promised in the 60’s and 70’s, but even with our inward focus on monetizing technology, the world has advanced at a breakneck speed. Imagine if all that development, all that enthusiasm, had been focused outwards on expansion. Once we have access to the asteroids, and to the vacuum of space, everything that made up the world economy would have to be reassessed.
It wouldn’t be fast, and it wouldn’t be easy, but unrestricted (efficient) access to the solar system effectively destroys our economic models. Supply and demand are driven by scarcity of resources, but with limitless mineral and energy resources that entire model collapses. Even without access to asteroid mining, you could seed the moon with nuclear power stations and automated factories. A space elevator would negate the energy costs of the gravity well and we could potentially have the utopia of the optimistic early space pioneers. The only resources left to worry about would be information, food, and time. How many powerful dynasties and ideologies would survive that level of change to the status quo? How many would have considered it enough of a potential threat to actively support any opposition to it?
Just a meandering thought for the day.
One I find a little more positive than the default assumption that we as a species would rather play politics and wallow in misery than reach for the stars.
I have a concern, a worry, a niggling question I can’t answer.
If we do ever contact an intergalactic species, how are we going to pass their Turing test? How do we display that we are sentient, aware in our own right, rather than just biochemical machines programmed to replicate? There isn’t a single human act I can think of that isn’t replicated by creatures we wouldn’t consider intelligent. Maybe that’s why we’ve been left alone, maybe we’re the galactic equivalent of Army Ants.
“Now that’s a particularly nasty species down there, better not land, it might get up in the landing gear.”
I’m tempted to say that music might save us. But if whatever we meet doesn’t use air vibrations as a means of communication, we are so screwed.
Comments more than welcome…
Now there’s a short story, the first meeting with an alien race, and the Muzak being piped in before the conference as a trance like-effect on the delegation. They become addicted, and humans become the aural-drug pushers to the galaxy. Chill to Bach, trip on AC/DC, overdose to Dub-Step.
Speaking of short stories, never forget They’re Made of Meat, by Terry Bisson.
Sometimes there comes a novel with an image that sears itself into your brain. A book that you can’t put down because when you get to that one scene, you have to hurl it across the room. The squick factor, the image that will stay with you until the day you die. Sure sometimes it fades away, but then a chance glimpse of that author’s name, or maybe a similar book cover. Then it is right back burrowing its way into your thoughts, reminding you of why you only read romances/magazines now.
For me that was a Chuck Palahniuk novel, Haunted. There is a scene pretty close to the beginning, that involved a swimming pool, and the reason that character eats highly processed foods. If you’ve read the book, then I’m sure its stuck with you, if you haven’t read the book I recommend you read it… share my pain.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a good scene, a well-written scene. Too well written maybe. I could visualise exactly what happened. My skin crawled and my stomach churned. Worse, I could practically feel what happened. Over-active imaginations are a necessity for aspiring authors, but can sometimes be a curse that can only be cured with Brain Bleach.
Question: So is there a scene that sticks with you from a favourite (or feared) book or movie, that one moment that makes even your masochistic side hesitate?
Comments more than welcome…
SQUICK: Possibly a contraction of “squeamish” and “Ick!” A negative emotional response, specifically a disturbed or disgusted one.
My first introduction, outside the Pern series, was a wonderful little novel by Rose Estes, called Children of the Dragon. It made such an impression on me as a young reader that I went out and bought a copy 10 years later, to give to any hatchlings that I might spawn.
In Epic fantasy they’re majestic forces of destruction, dominating the skies and laying waste to whole nations. While in Urban have somehow shrunk to pocket-sized comic relief, often found setting fire to expensive things in the underwear drawer.
Either way, I want to write dragons… but I’m not that brave yet. Dragons have to be treated carefully, with asbestos lined, kid gloves.
So… Dragons? … a mainstay of fantasy that lifts us from the page and into the worlds on fire-wreathed wings? Or a tired cliché best left off the page? Thoughts?
Comments more than welcome…
EDIT: until I was about to write this I actually had no idea that Estes had written a whole slew of books. You live and learn.