What deep concepts could Star Trek ponder next?

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Lokain and Bele

Emblematic of the issues Star Trek liked to delve in was the episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” about two members of the same race that hated each other because of their “obvious differences.”

There was an interesting question in IO9’s Postal Apocalypse mailbox this week, which “Postman” Rob Brickman decided to acknowledge as a great question… then pass on answering:

While many issues have been raised about how poorly Star Trek has tackled issues like gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity—and I certainly hope that we eventually get to see Federation citizens pursuing gay relationships and trans* individuals with no one batting an eye—it’s inspired me to wonder about how Star Trek could get out ahead of modern civil rights to tackle something our progressive civil rights movements have not reached yet. We’ve seen this in limited fashion with AI like Data and the EMH, where we explore what it is that constitutes an individual with equal rights and privileges, but I’m wondering about what might come after that. Hive-minds? The transfer of biological consciousness to a synthetic medium?

What’s the next, next generation of science fictiony rights issues that Star Trek could tackle when it someday returns to the small screen? What shape could egalitarianism take on in the 25th century?

I think the takeaway on that is that future fictional postmen in apocalyptic America couldn’t care less about Star Trek.  Clearly they realize how dated and obsolete the franchise is by then.  Nevertheless, I thought it was a great question, too, and would love to take a crack at a response. Continue reading

Entertainment over issues

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Roger Rabbit I hate the newsLooking over the stats on this site, it has become abundantly clear that posts related to entertainment—a review of a movie, or discussion about a TV show or trope—do significantly better than posts about science, technology or social issues.  Like Roger Rabbit, my readers do not want to read about real world issues; they want to be entertained.

Good to know.  I can use that info to make some changes around here, away from news items and science and technology commentary, and toward comments and discussions about shows, movies, etc.

Maybe.

Or I can keep talking about the things I happen to think are significant, from a futurist’s point of view.

Hmm.  Tough choice.

Rage against the dying of our future

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Chike DelunaAuthor Chike Deluna has some good observations in his blog post, Has modern Sci Fi strayed too far from its roots? In it, he points out that science fiction in movies and television have undergone a major shift in recent years, from scientific discovery and social introspection to militaristic obsession.  And I have to agree with him. Continue reading

The frustration of Worldfarm One

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Worldfarm OneWhen I wrote Worldfarm One, I expected parts of it would be controversial. I was writing about a time in the not-so-far future when the United States was no longer the superpower it once was; and its population was emigrating to other lands for better lives and jobs, only to be looked down upon by the nations they emigrated to.  It should not only sound familiar, but it should set off whatever irony alarms the reader has at their disposal.  I expected that some people—well, let’s be clear, U.S. citizens—would not be thrilled with the demotion of the United States on the world stage, and that I’d hear about it fairly quickly.

But owing to the incredible vagaries of life, what I got was almost completely different.  And it boggles my mind, to this day. Continue reading