Saturday, 18 February 2012

A new brand of terrorism, or an old one?

Science fiction is often about predicting the future. When I watch the news these days, seeing the riots in Athens, for example, which sadden me tremendously (I love Greece and the Greeks), and how most of us are having to pay the price for mistakes we didn't make, I wonder where all this is headed. There is a saying that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, but where will that end up?

In The Sapper, a free short story (read it here), the place is not Athens, but New Manhattan, several hundred years in the future, where the super-rich live separated from the rest. But one man rebels.

I grew up reading Robin Hood, who 'robbed from the rich and gave to the poor'. The recent film with Justin Timberlake 'In Time' had a similar theme, and although I thought the execution of the film wasn't that great, the premise was interesting. If Robin Hood were around today, would he be branded a terrorist?

The Sapper is a futuristic 'Whodunnit?' (more a 'who's going to do it?'), and is much grittier than Robin Hood or 'In Time'. It includes violence because I fear where we are headed. If the rich continue to cream off our money and then make us dig deeper for more, eventually the situation could become desperate. The terrorist in The Sapper is not some loon or religious fanatic, he's a middle class engineer who's had enough, and so he's more difficult to stop. So, this is a future I never want to see.

If you step back from the 'financial crisis', there are two points I'd like to make. First, the money went somewhere. No aliens came and took it off Earth. We still have plenty of resources, they are not distributed well. Second, the global economic 'business model' has become unstable, particularly in Europe, but elsewhere as well. An alien watching from afar might tell us we need another one, though I've personally no idea what it is. It might of course sort itself out. I hope so.


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