Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dreams of Smart Phones

Caroline has just got herself a new mobile phone which is so ridiculously packed with functions that you probably need to take some sort of course to work it all out. Amazing also is the size of the battery in the thing. Studying it last night, while drunk, and trying to cancel out the predictive text – she was trying to write ‘sorry’ to someone since she had texted that person a blank message, and we kept ending up with the word ‘sprout’ – I suddenly remembered some dreams I used to have.

When I was a kid I received as a birthday present one of those now archaic LED digital watches – the kind where you had to press a button to see the time since leaving the display on would flatten the battery – and later received an early Rockwell calculator. After that I would occasionally have dreams – and I mean REM sleep dreams not waking fantasies – about owning a digital watch that possessed all sorts of weird functions, and could display graphs and other types of information in colour. Strange. This was before I even considered trying to write SFF, so I guess the stuff I was reading was already having some sort of effect on my mind. We now have various devices that display information in that way, so those dreams were close to a correct prediction of the future.

Other dreams of that time were of looking up and seeing the sky full of traffic: huge quadrate vessels, like skyscrapers detached from the ground, tumbling through the clouds. Now, because the London airports are all within 60 – 70 miles of where we live, the sky is often scattered with airplanes and criss-crossed with vapour trails. Not quite there yet – we still need antigravity.


gekitsu said...

that is really interesting - your youngster fantasies, that is.
when i had my first contact with your literature (my father somehow got the skinner in german translation - he is a huge sf geek), my initial reaction was that this tapped some sort of very primal phantasy, much like what we imagined as youngsters.
there was an engaging story that didnt seem to know any borders - you turn the page and something larger blew up.
and the incredibly amount of detail to seemingly unimportant things: technical stuff, fauna and the like... just the way a typical youngster loves to gather knowledge or make up things for himself but always keep it in a catalogued, systematic fashion.

i guess it was the fact that the skinner was so very uch this primal kind of fantasy and not ashamed to be exactly that, that made me buy all the other novels in english.

and the books made me want to illustrate a complete bestiary :) (whos talking of typical youngster wishes?)

Bob Lock said...

Bugger anti-gravity, jump straight to runcibles I say. I want to step out of my front door, go through a runcible and end up on a deserted beach in The Maldives.

So, pull yer finger out and get one built!

BTW when you coming to Wales to sign a book or three? And no saying, 'When your runcible is online...')

E.Jim Shannon said...

These multi-functional cell phones are all nice and everything but to activate some of the features all costs money. They nickle and dime you to death. I'd love a cell phone that can get local am radio. Great for listening to Oiler hockey games at work :-)

Alex Cull said...

Some teenage genius is probably devising anti-gravity in their mum and dad's garage this very minute! Soon the skies over London may be buzzing with air cars - help!

Chris said...

Wouldn't it be cool if, one day, a company actually brings out a mobile/cell phone that is, well, just that: a telephone, perhaps with an SMS function, but definitely nothing else...

I'm no Luddite, but if I see another kid with their mobile blasting out a rather poor quality chart "hit" on the train, then I swear I'll grab it and stamp on it!

Little bastards, the lot of 'em!

Joe said...

One of those red LED digital watches was the first proper watch I had after bidding my kid's Timex bye bye. Decades later I'd never wear a digital watch... And yet actually I would if I could get one like that again (but with modern batteries of course - the originals conked out rapidly and cost a fortune to replace). On childhood dreams and fantasies tho, I did dream of mobile communicators like Captain Kirk's, which in a way we have. But I am still waiting for my personal jetcopter and robot butler.

And Chris, don't smash their mobiles, that just creates litter. Instead ram it down their throat and make them eat it. This shuts up the kid and the phone at the same time. If you really want to rub it in take a picture of this process on your own camera phone while you're at it.

bascule said...

Did your childhood dreams ever feature anything as wonderful as Femtroopers!

Sign me up for the imperial forces!

Neal Asher said...

Not so much my childhood dreams, but certainly those I dreamed when the hairs stared sprouting on my nuts.