Printed on p5 of the SwanCon XV Program Book. Transcribed by Anna Hepworth. Typos faithlessly reproduced
Crystal Balls and Other Unlikely Prosthetics IV: (Time to Murder and Create)
by Stephen Dedman
One of the nicest things you can say about the future is that there’s a lot of it. There’s time for war and peace, feasts and famine, plagues and panaceas. There’s room for freedom, and for oppression which would make Inca society seem anarchic. Slavery may reappear (“Equal rights for AIs!”) and work itself may vanish. Heterosex may become illegal in one century and compulsary (twice daily) in another; here a cause for gendercide, there utterly irrelevant . . . or physiologically impossible, or maybe forgotten altogether. As for technology; if man survives, anything that’s possible is almost inevitabel. Let us hope we don’t start destroying planets until we no longer need them.
Nothing is permanent – except maybe extinction, and advancing cloning techniques may be able to cure isolated cases of that. Nationalism may become as trivial as soccer, and hopefully less bloody. The love of money and other religions may retreat to the catacombs, or even vanish entirely. English may become the universal language, but don’t become too smug: how easily do you think you could converse with Chaucer or the Pearl Poet?
Even if Time Travel is a one-way street (it probably is, but don’t worry about the speed limits); even if FTL travel is merely a fantasy; even if we are the smartest beings in the Universe . . . we have millions of centuries, and possibly billions of worlds, and they belong to us – to science fiction writers, readers and fans.
After all, no-one else seems to want them.
It’s the biggest playground unimaginable: go forth and have fun. Just make sure you’re not late for dinner.
(The possibilities are endless)