Thursday, May 17, 2012

On Existence Google’s Project Glass and the transformative power of science fiction - David Brin

"AG: At the centre of EXISTENCE is the discovery on an alien artifact – leading to First Contact. You’re an active member of SETI and have written non-fiction on the “Fermi Paradox” or Great Silence – the question of why we seem to be alone in the cosmos. Was writing EXISTENCE perhaps a way to explore this paradox through fiction?

DB: It’s the Big Question. There are billions of stars older than our sun. Many sapient species may have preceded us by eons and at least a few should have left clear signs of their passage. Why does the sky seem so empty of voices, then? Why was Earth apparently never visited? (And we would know, if it had been.)

Does something “filter” down the numbers? Just in the last brilliant decade, we’ve learned that planets are common and life seems likely to erupt almost anywhere with molten water. So what makes us rare? Intelligence? Technology? Or the fact that we figured out how to advance a bit, without nuclear war? The range of possibilities is daunting. I tried to give most of them a nod . . . amid a much broader plot about our near future."

3.5 out of 5