I was listening to the radio the other day, and they were very sternly reporting on drug violations at the Olympics, and how the Russian world-record holder in short-distance running might have to return her medal for using performance enhancing drugs.
My reaction? GO TEAM CYBORG!
This is my reaction to a lot of things. As a child of science fiction, hungrily devouring every story about what humans could be, I don’t worry too much about a lot of the things that seem to get the world all het up. I was prepared for the internet long before it showed up in my dad’s house because I read William Gibson and Vernor Vinge and I knew what to do with a Worldnet when I got one: jump into it with love, devotion, and both feet. And, you know, use it to watch porn.
SF raised me, and I think it did a damn fine job. It at least removed a lot of potential sources of anxiety.
I think all athletes should be able to take drugs if they want to, and also have cybernetic enhancements. They should be able to change and use their body however they like, to whatever extreme–let’s mod this fucker and see what it can really do!
I don’t worry too much about bio-proteins grown in vats. Yes, it will taste like crap. Everything in the future tastes like crap! It’s how you know you’re in the future! If it’s not grey and amporphous and vaguely morally alarming, it doesn’t belong in your face.
I don’t worry about stem-cell research. Yes, the government will try to stop it. They will fail. Yes, we will end up a race of mutants who have forgotten what it’s like to be human. It’s gonna be awesome! I’m gonna get a tail, and regenerating limbs, and gills. And all kinds of vibrating attachments so I can finally obey my spam and GIVE HER WHAT SHE WANTS. I can’t wait!
I don’t worry that machines will replace man–they totally will. I for one…you know the drill. We are going to be living down and dirty and close with garage-level AI and it is going to be so fabulous I can’t even tell you. Yes, they will probably imprison us and use us for fuel/fodder/whatever. They’ll get over it. Kids are like that. What did you do in the backyard when no one was looking when you were a kid? You just wait, we’re gonna be playing doctor with the robots in no time.
I don’t worry too much about the growing dystopian fascism, either. Yes, the government does listen to everything. Of course they do! I mean, come on. It’s kind of funny. It’s as if our government read all the dystopian SF ever and said to themselves: “These are fantastic ideas! Who can we get to implement these?” But! I’ve read the same books. Therefore, I know that dystopia is survivable and temporary, especially if run by a repressive religious nut, that there is always an underground, that Shakespeare can save me, that the human soul is essentially untouchable, and that if you can say one thing for oppressive dystopias, it’s that they usually have some pretty bitchin’ drugs.
I don’t worry about drugs. Hack your body, kids. Just learn to recognize malware.
I don’t worry about global warming. Yes, we will probably be forced to live underground and slowly forget that there ever was a surface world. We will be nameless cogs in a post-industrial nightmare. But the point is I’m ready for that. I have an awesome dog, after all. And free love in the bowels of the earth will probably make up lack of vitamin D, and the architecture down there is worth the trip alone. We’ll come out again, we always do.
Because really, what SF taught me was that we will always survive. There is nothing which is not survivable, nothing to which I, 21st century human female, cannot adapt. There is nothing in which I cannot find beauty, joy, rapture. The world will always change. I will always change. It’s ok.
Science fiction will save us.