The Weight of Thought

Beyond Lemuria

One man’s opinion. Last week Wired posted an essay in its Underwire section by a writer who felt that cyberpunk saved the science fiction genre in the 80s. Paolo Bacigalupi, a science fiction author himself, explains that sci-fi at the time was spinning its wheels in a deep ditch, how it lost touch with humanity and technology, and how it needed a solid bitch-slap. Cyberpunk was that bitch-slap… followed with a nasty pimp-slap:

Cyberpunk felt urgent. It wasn’t the future 15 minutes out—it was the future sideswiping you and leaving you in a full-body cast as it passed by.

It was a desperately needed course correction. Science fiction had lost the thread of reality. Human beings weren’t going to the moon; we were going digital. Someone needed to grab the genre by the lapels and yank it around—force writers to look at the present moment and decipher its implications.

Considering events of the time would help understand why the Rocket-and-Moon-Colony set was a failure when the 80s came around.

 

May the Force be Irrelevant. As 1979 gave way to 1980, the original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) was three years old and wouldn’t be available for home viewing for another two years, while Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back would be released mid-year, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture was only one month in theaters. Battlestar Galactica would get new life as Galactica 1980 and would trade laser fire with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. It seemed like the 80s would be a golden age of starfighter-space operas.

But the technology wasn’t keeping pace, going in its own direction and taking humanity with it.

Even though the space shuttle was taking flight, humanity wasn’t going to outer space. Only in video games were we able to blast off this planet and live out those Luke Skywalker-wannabe fantasies. Instead of Martians and robots invading our homes, computers were, by invitation, while robots were a couple of decades away. And we forgot about outer space for cyberspace.



It sounds like the plot to a science fiction story, but new scientific research hypothesizes that “advanced dinosaurs” may have evolved on other planets in the universe.



According to Dr. Ronald Breslow, the advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs would likely be monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans.



"We would be better off not meeting them," Breslow concludes in a study that appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In his report, Breslow discusses the age-old mystery of why the building blocks of terrestrial amino acids (which make up proteins), sugars, and the genetic materials DNA and RNA exist mainly in one orientation or shape.