Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Write Fast

The humorist Calvin Trillin was quoted as saying, “In modern America, anyone who attempts to write satirically about the events of the day finds it difficult to concoct a situation so bizarre that it may not come to pass while his article is still on the presses.”

Calvin was not especially interested in science. But if he were he could say the same thing about this field. I wrote a story that had a lot to do with time travel and other scientific feats. Between the time I began the story, Time out of Joint, and the time I ended the story, some 350 pages later, there were important developments in science that made part of my story obsolete. So now I am doing a sequel.

Time was when we kids would have done almost anything to own a two-way radio that was ten times as large as a cell phone and full of delicate vacuum tubes, but such a thing was impossible with the current technology. Within forty years many people had tiny, rugged two-way radios in the form of cell phones that worked almost every time they were tried.

When I taught in middle schools maybe three years ago, I told students many times, “This is a great time to be alive!” The technology available to everyone, including kids, would have stunned the average person in the 1950’s.

From a technological standpoint, it is a great time to be alive.

But you have to write fast.

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