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  • What makes the future?

  • Discuss various aspects of the Honorverse universe here. Please be mindful of what you post, as not everybody has read the same amount of books. DO NOT post Honorverse fan fiction here under ANY circumstances!
Discuss various aspects of the Honorverse universe here. Please be mindful of what you post, as not everybody has read the same amount of books. DO NOT post Honorverse fan fiction here under ANY circumstances!
 #17484  by John Fairbairn, KGE
 Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:45 am
Here's a link to an interesting article. It espouses the concept that the past makes the future, based on what science fiction writers project and inventors perceive from what they write. I found it to be an interesting conjecture.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-science-fict ... the-future

See what you think.
 #17538  by Chester Beedle
 Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:15 am
I wonder if a lot is that the writers have such open minds and imaginations that they can foresee new uses sooner than the rest of society.
John Fairbairn, KGE and -1 others liked this
 #17543  by John Fairbairn, KGE
 Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:02 am
Chester Beedle wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:15 am
I wonder if a lot is that the writers have such open minds and imaginations that they can foresee new uses sooner than the rest of society.
Well, I suspect that there is some of that, yes. But what I got from the article is that the pairing of the writers and the development people is a full interdependent, reciprocal and resonating synergy. Someone invents something, someone who writes thinks of that in terms of an extended or ongoingly developed context, the originator (or someone else) is inspired by the story to create another reality, and the process repeats.

An example not given in the article is that of Dr. Edward Edgar Smith. He wrote first the Skylark series, and then turned his attention to his Lensman series. In the first of those, he speculated about a material he called allotropic iron, a ferrous substance that existed in liquid form at standard temperature and pressure, and which could be reacted to give off huge amounts of energy.

From Wikipedia - Smith was widely read by scientists and engineers from the 1930s into the 1970s. Literary precursors of ideas which arguably entered the military-scientific complex include the SDI (Triplanetary), stealth (Gray Lensman), the OODA Loop, C3-based warfare, and the AWACS (Gray Lensman).

An inarguable influence was described in a June 11, 1947, letter to Doc from John W. Campbell (the editor of Astounding, where much of the Lensman series originally was published). In it, Campbell relayed Captain Cal Laning's acknowledgment that he had used Smith's ideas for displaying the battlespace situation (called the "tank" in the Lensman series) in the design of the United States Navy's ships' Combat Information Centers. "The entire set-up was taken specifically, directly, and consciously from the Directrix. In your story, you reached the situation the Navy was in — more communication channels than integration techniques to handle it. You proposed such an integrating technique and proved how advantageous it could be. You, sir, were 100% right. As the Japanese Navy — not the hypothetical Boskonian fleet — learned at an appalling cost."

Lesser - but not inconsequential - concepts he described in the Lensman series included high-intensity amplified light beams (lasers) used as weapons, the plate (flat-screen monitor) display, a hand-rigged device to electrically simulate a non-repeating event controller (random number generator), armored and force-multiplied powered battle suits, and oh so much more. His really was a remarkable mind, and he inspired so much of development toward things we consider commonplace today without realizing their genesis.

Items I have seen go from SF pages to reality just in my lifetime include: atomic weapons, generation of electrical energy using nuclear physics, the Mini-Sec (a pocket-sized combined audio/visual communications and data retrieval device - IE: the smart-phone) from Arthur C. Clark's Imperial Earth, laser technology, LED data monitors and TVs, keyboards with reassignable key functions and even reprogrammable touch-screen versions, space satellites, space stations, Humans landing on Luna, instant views of global weather, instant views of global terrain, microwave ovens, personal computers, computer-driven notebooks and book readers, the Internet, integrated circuits, and hundreds more.

How many of these were developed in your lifetime?
 #17866  by John Fairbairn, KGE
 Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:02 am
John Fairbairn, KCE wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:02 am
Chester Beedle wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:15 am
I wonder if a lot is that the writers have such open minds and imaginations that they can foresee new uses sooner than the rest of society.
Well, I suspect that there is some of that, yes. But what I got from the article is that the pairing of the writers and the development people is a full interdependent, reciprocal and resonating synergy. Someone invents something, someone who writes thinks of that in terms of an extended or ongoingly developed context, the originator (or someone else) is inspired by the story to create another reality, and the process repeats.
Master Chief Beedle, I do hope my somewhat extensive response did not make you feel that I was trying to shut you down. That was not at all my intent. I fully agreed with your assessment.

And how about some of the rest of you? Anyone else have an opinion about the article?
Chester Beedle liked this
 #18095  by Chester Beedle
 Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:07 am
John Fairbairn, KCE wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:02 am


Master Chief Beedle, I do hope my somewhat extensive response did not make you feel that I was trying to shut you down. That was not at all my intent. I fully agreed with your assessment.

Not at all. It's just been a busy couple weeks and I haven't been as active here as I intend to be.


You brought up some very good points about what started as fiction and made it into reality.
How about bionics? Remember, "The Six Million Dollar Man," and, " The Bionic Woman?" While we don't have that level of control, there are people with powered hands that can grasp and operate simple pushbutton pads. Legs aren't super strong, but people are able to run marathons or go back to their SF teams humping 70 pounds of gear in the mountains.
Even things as simple as automatic doors were once the real of sci-fi.
Self driving cars are becoming a reality.

I've also found it interesting the ideas that never happened. Either because it isn't possible, or just not economically feasible.
I remember a short story where suborbital travel was the norm, getting to anyplace on the planet in only a few hours was as easy as getting from LA to NYC on a 747. It was also considered impossible for anyone to travel to the moon.
 #18129  by John Fairbairn, KGE
 Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:10 am
Chester Beedle wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:07 am
Not at all. It's just been a busy couple weeks and I haven't been as active here as I intend to be.

You brought up some very good points about what started as fiction and made it into reality.
How about bionics? Remember, "The Six Million Dollar Man," and, " The Bionic Woman?" While we don't have that level of control, there are people with powered hands that can grasp and operate simple pushbutton pads. Legs aren't super strong, but people are able to run marathons or go back to their SF teams humping 70 pounds of gear in the mountains.
Even things as simple as automatic doors were once the real of sci-fi.
Self driving cars are becoming a reality.
True for these. I just read an interesting article, reprinted in the Readers Digest, about the current status on printing body parts. I think that the situation Mr. Weber described for Honor as being unable to accept transplants or regenerative surgeries may be solved far more quickly than anyone realizes. I also think that, because those will use the patient's own genome for the material, that rejections will become a thing of the past. 3D printing will revolutionize obtaining organs for medical transplantation. I expect to see that begin by 2025.
I've also found it interesting the ideas that never happened. Either because it isn't possible, or just not economically feasible.
Economics is the driver. But what is not economically feasible today may become so much sooner than we might think. Printing a metal or plastic 3D object using a $1000 (or less) printer was not economically feasible ten years ago.
I remember a short story where suborbital travel was the norm, getting to anyplace on the planet in only a few hours was as easy as getting from LA to NYC on a 747. It was also considered impossible for anyone to travel to the moon.
Well, the Star Trek replicator is not presently feasible. but give us about 20 years ... ;)

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