Friday, March 21, 2008

The Price of Technology

I've been reading recent accounts of the rather freaky tendencies of some of our technology to "go nova"--unexpected occurances of spontaneous combustion, sometimes while in use.

And that got me thinking... (because, you know, I'm a writer and almost everything gets me thinking along some plot line direction)

Why don't we see more of this in Science Fiction? Almost always the technology works perfectly. Where's the hiccups? Where's the planned obsolesense that happens right at a critical time? To put it in familiar terminology: Where's the lemons?

In Fantasy, there must always be a cost for having magical abilities, always a price to pay, a counter for every effect. Why isn't there more of this in Sci Fi? Why doesn't technology come with these twisty little trade-offs? The extent of troubles seem to involve damage from space battles and/or crashes, but what about the Apollo 13 factor? Maybe the ship just wasn't built right. Some unknown wiring problem in the tank stirrers could send your Xtanna Magnum Fighter into implosion mode just as the nasty Venturkion swarm has a lock on your ship. Those dang Xt contractors, cutting corners again!

Although Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly and all the other major Sci-Fi institutions included various problems with the machinery from time-to-time, few dealt with a continuous on-going systems glitches, vessel recalls, or the fact that sometime on their five-year missions or repeated brushes with enemy fleets, their shiny, high-tech vessels just might--I dunno--need an oil change?

I must think more on this for some of my upcoming projects. Serenity's startling tendency to shed buffer panels should not be an isolated incident, it should be more the norm.

3 comments:

  1. Speaking of technology.
    There's a good posibility that we can tell the oil producing countries that hold us in a chokehold to "Go pound sand."
    Researcher: Discovery could end energy crisis.
    We can now make oil from any organic matter.
    Playing with bacterias, scary stuff, but look at what they've accomplished. One still wonders the reprecussions for the future...
    How safe is this technology?

    TIFTON, Mar 16, 2008 (The Tifton Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information
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    Sorry, here's where to find it.

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  3. Wow. Well, we could do well to break our dependency on oil, but as you suggest, what other problems might be created?

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