Science Fiction Is Sapping My Will to Live
Jan 17 2013
So not too long ago I decided to get really into science fiction books because I hate leaving the house because there’s people out there, and they scare me, and it’s January in Chicago where I live. I cannot recommend enough that you avoid this entire genre, unless you enjoy the claustrophobic sensation of constant unavoidable impending doom. I just finished the Isaac Asimov Foundation series, and aside from getting his dick kicked in as a writer by any one word Frank Herbert ever threw down, it sucks. For a while it was really helping me because it’s one of those science fiction universes where human beings get off Earth and don’t go extinct, and that’s the only possibility for our collective future that makes me feel anything resembling hope for our entire species.
But then Asimov (spoiler alert) takes a left turn and says “so what” about it all, because even if humans spread out and populate the entire galaxy, we’d still just be sitting there twiddling our thumbs and killing each other for marginal advantages until infinity. So really the only interesting thing about the survival of the entire human race right now is the fact that we don’t know if we will or we won’t get our fucking acts together in time to get off this planet before we wreck it. I’m rooting for yes we will do that, but Asimov correctly points out that it won’t really matter even if we do. So the impression I was left with is the whole idea of having people is like some stupid will-they won’t-they thing, like Ross and Rachel, but for God, and it’ll go on that way until they cancel the series. Sounds about right and also fuck you Isaac Asimov for putting that idea in my head. By way of a solution, Asimov throws some gobbledygook together about how we’ll be alright if we start living as a single conscious organism. I’ve seen the internet, Isaac. That is a bad idea. Be glad you’re dead for it.
Oh but get this: the last thing Isaac Asimov did in the Foundation series before he died is go back and write a couple of prequel books about how this whole saga started, and those are REALLY depressing. They’re about how the smart guy figured out how to save everybody while all the shit was going down. I won’t get too far into the plot, but basically all of mankind is this big political and economic empire and it decays and crumbles under its own unsustainable weight. Does this sound fucking familiar to anybody? Asimov describes it and then I get to look outside and see bankrupt-ass Chicago slowly descend into anarchy as I read about how the U.S. Government just told HSBC “OK, you can get rich from drug cartels and terrorists as long as we get a very thin slice of that pie,” which brings us one step closer to actual de jure legalisation of murder (right now it’s de facto for poor black and rich white people) and every story such as this one about the economy points to “there’s not enough money in the world anymore to live the way we’ve been living, so we’re open to new ideas such as laundering all meth money in order to keep making Playstations.” Personally I’m waiting for the end to the taboo on dog meat. That’s how I’ll know the game’s over. Also I’m maybe a little curious. What a great thing to think. Happy Winter, fuckstick, you just chose the wrong damn fiction genre to investigate during your hibernation. Maybe next time you pick up a book you should try something with tits in it, because according to Isaac Asimov, fuck it, you’re on the clock.
What else can I tell you? Oh, Asimov also wrote a shit tonne of other books and stories. There’s a bunch about robots and some about the empire, and I haven’t read those yet, and I hope to the God in heaven who I am sure does not exist that I am not curious enough to read them. There’s the off chance they might improve my mood, but I doubt it. The glimpses into those interlocking universes offered by the Foundation books tell me that Asimov thinks robots will be a good idea. I agree with this actually, but it’s not comforting. Hopefully we’ll be able to develop artificial intelligence to the point where it can tell us what we need to do to be OK, and hopefully that solution won’t involve killing off about half of us, and if it does hopefully the half that has to go is not me and all my family and friends, but if it is, hopefully the robot overlords will kill us gently and then keep our DNA around just in case. I’m ready to be treated like livestock by an entity that actually knows what the fuck it’s doing. I have no confidence in the billionaires and war barons currently at the switch. Anyhow, these are the thoughts I’d imagine will be forming in my brain if I were to read the rest of Asimov’s books, and for that reason they get a big no thank you.
As I mentioned earlier, Asimov does offer some meek solutions to the human dilemma. There’s the whole “one organism for harmony” thing, which would be nice in a Native American way if also a little body snatchery and Marxist. Then there’s “why don’t we put all the smart people together, keep them off to the side for oh let’s say a thousand years, and let them figure everything out and that will work” solution, which actually sounds perfect except for the fact that (spoiler alert) this group of smart people will be dependent on the protection of another group of people who are also smart and are even more sequestered because they can READ MINDS. Nice. Let’s get on that whole “read minds” thing, everybody. Let’s put our eggs in that basket. Thanks to the internet we are closer than ever to reading minds, and it turns out our minds are taking pictures of our food, and imagining jizzing on each other’s faces and talking to each other about sports and that’s about it. So that’ll be great when we can actually know what other people are really thinking in real time. “I like dogs, I eat pizza, I have friends, I drive cars, I win games…” etcetera FOREVER. Yeah, that’s gonna help us. You know what, I’m ready. Bring on the robots and the books about robots. With any luck one of the robots will be a sexy robot. Thanks Isaac.
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