The Future Will Not be Perfect

Now 16 months after my last post, you might suspect that the sequel to FUTURE PERFECT is done and off to the publisher. Not quite. The only thing that’s “done” is my optimism, my hope that humanity can come together and pull ourselves out of this death spiral that began with enclosure of the commons, through feudalism, colonialism, Manifest Destiny, globalization, and the destruction and monetization of the natural world, and continues through our current Weathermageddons-du-jour, ocean acidification, species extinctions, METHANE ERUPTIONS, economic mirages-masking-impending-collapse, governmental corruption and corporatist-fascist surveillance (1984!) and crackdowns, onward to a future hell that is anything but perfect.  FUTURE PERFECT was a tongue-in-cheek title, a nod to the tendency of utopian thinking to become, in the absence of democratic input, quite dystopian.  Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and when the beholder holds all the cards, cash, and capital, the future is assuredly less than perfect for anyone below, say, 99.9%.

So where does that leave my sequel?  Definitely in progress.  I write to make sense of the world, and the world is pretty chaotic right now. At the start of writing FP, I took a timeout to read (6 months, actually, to read history, religion, political science, physics & quantum theory, philosophy), and I’m deep into that learning now: ecology, more history, resistance theory, high-intensity energy extraction (e.g. fracking), and more on dying, Buddhism, extinction, Permaculture, anti-colonial literature, medieval preservation of knowledge, and alternatives to capitalism.  I’m intrigued by the difference/conflict between Resilience (the latest buzz-word for governmental, educational, and eco toolkits) and Resistance, and whether it’s too late for either.

All of which extends the sequel time. I do know some things:  the story begins in 2022 — a mere 8 years from now — in the eastern US. What do you think our world, our environment, will be like then?  Where were you in 2006, 8 years ago — what were you thinking, how were you living, what dreams did you hold about the future, about 2014?  Would you have imagined then where you are, where we are, now?

Hold on to your hats, we’re in for a wild ride. Pluto isn’t over, it’s just beginning.

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Next up…

I’ve started on the sequel to FUTURE PERFECT.  Title as yet unknown, it will pick up where FP left off, with some of the same characters, and some new ones.

As many of you know, FP embodies the philosophical journey not just of James Smith, but of the author as well.  Well, we’re off again — exploring Transition, community, anarchism, disaster, redemption, compassion, and resilience — until the Future is Perfect, there will be room for stories like these.

Stay tuned!

Life again imitating fiction

In the last post, I talked about the predictive nature of FUTURE PERFECT.  Well, I had some idea of the massive surveillance network required for a 1984-type situation, and I figured we were getting closer, but it still was a shock to stumble upon Trapwire, the massive spy network revealed in the latest Wikileaks unveilingDavid Seaman and Australian activist Asher Wolf have been valiantly trying to get the word out, but the mainstream media isn’t biting (and now that the Ayn Rand admirer Paul Ryan has just been announced as Romney’s running mate, the odds of Trapwire getting covered just dropped into Snowball-in-Miami territory).  Trapwire is described as “a technology solution predicated upon behavior patterns in red zones to identify surveillance. It helps you connect the dots over time and distance.” It’s predictive — think Minority Report‘s “pre-crime”.

Trapwire is one step closer to FUTURE PERFECT’s Meta system — just add corporate data (Facebook, Google, Visa, etc), throw in a little home videocam and AI, and there you go:  reality beginning to resemble fictional dystopias.

To hold the Future in your hands…

I started writing FUTURE PERFECT in January of 2007, with the plan of setting the story in our “present day” and its immediate future (2007-2025). It’s by nature predictive, and the longer it took me to write, the more I kept bumping up against current reality–and finding many of my predictions coming true. I was constantly “chasing the present”, with the pressure to publish before my “prophecies” became history. The e-book’s publication was a huge relief, but I still felt a need (more like a creeping sense of foreboding) to get it into unalterable print before the wave function collapsed and my little book of fiction resembled more of reality than I bargained for.  [This time-sensitivity was one of those “Is Self Publishing Right For You?” examples.] Also, I know many of you prefer to hold & read the actual paper book rather than a device (I’m one of those people, too).

So it’s with great relief, pride, gratitude, and hope, that I can announce that the print version of FP is now a click away, on https://www.createspace.com/3931991. By this time next week it will be listed on Amazon.com.

Thanks to all of you who’ve offered praise, helpful hints, and support. It’s been an incredible experience. Now….to the sequel!

Imagine a Future…

Today I came across an article on CommonDreams.org entitled “Building Sustainable Future Needs More Than Science, Experts Say”.  The gist of it is that facts & science alone can’t build a future, instead we need to harness the power of imagination (stories, worldviews, values, etc) to really change things.  (Incidentally, this explains why religions aren’t going away anytime soon). The article hits on a main theme of FUTURE PERFECT, i.e. the effects of stories on reality:

“Society’s choices are driven by people’s cultural perceptions of reality, which in turn are based on their values and their cultural context, [Joe Zammit-Lucia] said.”

Science is important, but if we can develop a culture that sees us as part of the natural world, that has empathy for people and other living beings instead of for corporations, that values collaboration over competition, maybe the future won’t seem so…unreal.

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In other news, FUTURE PERFECT is now available directly via Amazon for your Kindle, the Apple iBookstore for your iDevices, and BN.com for your Nook.

By krisbecker

A quantum theory of stories

Think of a story as a series of observations tied together into a plot, a narrative. Quantum theory says, among other things, that observation creates reality. So, stories create reality. You know this from your experience with different types of stories: far-reaching, complex stories around which worldviews and cultures are built; personal narratives that create identities; stories we tell ourselves about the world and our place in it. You know that sometimes the observer’s reality can override objective reality.

Even stories written as fiction have a way of working into our realities: think Horatio Alger, or Big Brother. (But fiction also reflects reality…so, a circle of influence.)

For those storytellers with a megaphone, just one careless story can create the most dismal of realities, pulling all of us entangled citizen-particles into that parallel dystopian universe….

By krisbecker