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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon I read a lot of older science fiction. What often strikes me as odd is the lack of computers in the older works, and the lack of the Internet in newer works which do include computers.

The entire world has changed dramatically just in the time since I was born. In 1969, computers were large and very expensive and quite rare - I have in my house more computing power than NASA used to launch the Moon landing. Today, computers are small and cheap and extremely common - when I get into my car, there is a computer under my seat. In 1969, computer networks were still in the rudimentary design stages. Today, the International Space Station has email.

I am sure that in A.D. 2148, computers will be much more advanced than I envision them to be in this story. However, it's easier to write a mystery tale in which the technology isn't so smart it solves the mystery for you.
(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs The canonical example of what Jon is talking about is the cellular phone. Most traditional thriller plots ("oh no, we're lost in the woods!" "oh no, the killer has cut the phone lines!") fall apart when the protagonist can just whip out a cell and call for help. Science fiction doesn't have a much better track record than "mainstream" fiction at dealing with this problem of technological obsolescence, and may even be worse -- SF is littered with laser blasters that are less lethal than modern-day pistols, high-tech space fighters that handle like World War I biplanes, interstellar monarchies and thinly disguised Communists in space, and suchlike. On the other hand, efforts to actually present an appropriately different future are usually disasters storytelling-wise, as the wreckage of the New Wave makes clear. It's a tough problem, but it's also part of what makes science fiction, both good and bad, so intriguing.

On a completely unconnected note, I would like to take this opportunity to wish our American readers a happy Thanksgiving. And please drive safely -- MoS is a small concern, and we can't afford to lose any of you readers in traffic accidents.