What the heck am I talking about?
Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge’ have written a great deal about the ‘Singularity’, but few have paid much attention. It has been called “the rapture of the nerds”. While the Singularity makes for interesting reading and conjecture, I don’t see it as totally transforming the entire human species.
At this writing, there are naked humans walking jungle trails and smearing frog snot on arrowheads. Within a few thousand kilometers, there are laptop computers, cellphones, aircraft carriers, and rockets able to lob men into orbit.
Even if certain tranhumanists merge with their computer counterparts in the next few years, I think there will still be a large percentage of the population that will take it a bit slower. Instead of a Singularity, I think we’ll experience a multiplarity where those naked humans will continue to depend on toxic frogs, first-world retirees will cruise the islands in their sailboats, and plumbers will suggest a new drain field for that old mountain cabin.
There is a marvelous book out by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, Ph.D. It’s called Beyond Earth and is a treasure trove of information dealing with space colonization. I do not agree with some of their conclusions, but there is a lot to amuse any science fiction author and space geek. Here’s one quote:
“There’s a pattern to the timing of changes in technological fields. Big revolutions like the invention of the telephone or the jet happen rapidly, followed by long periods of incremental improvement, and then another revolution. The planes we fly now look a lot like the first successful passenger jets. They’re bigger, quieter, and more efficient but have much more in common with the planes of 1960 than the planes of 1960 did with the planes of 1955. Similarly, telephones got better slowly for almost a century before they exploded into a whole new thing.
Maybe it’s not a coincidence that thirty years is about the time it takes for a new generation to grow up with technology, take on the jobs capable of disrupting it, and create something totally new. Young people renew the world because they haven’t learned yet what’s not possible.”
This is just one reason why predicting even the near future is so difficult.
Exploring these seemingly disparate themes is something that I’ve considered for many years. While it is nice to play in the warp-drive world of Star Trek, I’ve always been interested in examining the processes that would lead our species to such a future.
Multiplarity has been in development for more than fifteen years. It started as a few quickly-typed notes on a future history idea and grew sporadically as concepts and new technology solutions occurred to me.
World building has been fun for me ever since I started writing fiction. While compiling the author notes back matter for Multiplarity, it dawned on me that this space opera actually showcased four totally different worlds. I’ll go into more detail on these worlds and the relevant technology in my next post.
Most of the photography and artwork is mine, however I must credit the fabulous cover art image of a Colonial Lander Type II, to my friend John Picha. He’s a gifted illustrator, graphic artist, animator, and author in his own right. Thank you Sir!