There have been a few follow-ups on that Guardian article I linked to yesterday, the best of which is by Nick Harkaway who is thoroughly unimpressed by the al-Qaida = The Foundation argument. Indeed he argues that it is more or less a tautology because science fiction is the only fiction that deals with the modern world, so there is no other fiction that political visionaries could look to:
Since mainstream literature is apparently defined by not looking forward – literary fiction and its fellows in the UK seem to be determined to avoid discussions of hard and soft technology, to the point of becoming a fiction of the recent-yet-curiously-extended-past, as if we’d never developed the cellphone or cracked the human genome – SF is the only place where possible futures are discussed.
Nick has more to say on that subject in the interview he did with me for Salon Futura.
Meanwhile Mark Charan Newton eschews the satire and makes a more direct science-fictional link to the way the British government has been behaving.
For those of you in the US, Lynne Kiesling is once again complaining about the vast cost of the TSA’s security theatre program, and the lack of any sort of cost-benefit analysis of the work that they do.
There was a fair amount of hope on Twitter yesterday that OBL’s death might result in a cessation, or at least lessening in intensity, of the “war on terror”, but the very next article in my RSS feeds after Lynne’s was this one. Yes folks, the reaction of governments has not been, “the bad guy is dead, we can all relax now,” but rather, “OMG, we’ve just poked a hornet’s nest, we need lots more invasive security measures to keep us safe!”
Really, is anyone surprised?