Now I know how some other writers feel when their speculations get the crap beaten out of them by reality.
There are lots of writers who’ve written about civilizations on Mars, war with the Soviet Union, and other things that you look back on later and wonder what you would say to justify that after the fact. Lines like, “Wow, I had a lot to drink/snort/shoot in those days,” come up with some of them, as does, “But the data seemed so solid,” as well as “It was metaphorical, yeah, that’s it,” or “Oh c’mon, you thought A Flock of Seagulls was a good band back then too, and you know it!”
All right, maybe it’s only me that uses that last one…
But there’s no denying that you finish the work, you have it there for everyone to see, and something happens later that makes you realize that you might have missed something.
In my case, it was conveying the right aspects of the digital divide in Red Jenny.
I think it was the idea that connectivity was so ubiquitous and rolling out so far so fast, that just about everyone would have some level of connectivity, which is a safe assumption. If anything, the idea of non-connectivity, of being totally separated out from the wider world, was just not given as strong a look compared to shifting climate making enemies of neighbors.
Which made “Life on the Other Side of the Digital Divide” by D. Watkins on Motherboard a big whack-to-the-head moment. The depictions of the effects in this day and age of the divide between those with connectivity and those without went far beyond where I was with the novel.
Even accounting for the concept of connectivity transitioning from a service to a utility taking place and Moore’s Law producing a corollary that the computing power you need becomes affordable given time, the scene where Shaun produces a tablet mapping Lake Erie comes off a bit too “first world” after reading Watkins’ piece today.
I’d like to hope that next time aspects like these won’t get lost. I ultimately don’t have a real good defense of this blind spot, other than being so engaged with all that metaphor while pouring over all that solid data over as I drank all those rum drinks.
And listening to so much A Flock of Seagulls…