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Semi-random thoughts

August 9, 2010

A few things that just sort of occurred to me lately –

I still like Windows 7. As a Mac guy, that’s pretty much unheard of. The problems with it are just because of the underpinnings of Windows which still seem needlessly complicated to me. Still, finally, they got a lot of stuff right in making the interface work for humans – finally. It not only looks better, it seems easier to work with, by far.

Not a bad show...getting there.

I don’t know why all the good dramas actually are now on cable TV – USA and TNT, in particular, and in the summer, no less. The stuff on the regular networks generally sucks (yes, CSI Miami, I’m talkin’ about you) and these cable channels are cranking out some pretty good stuff. If you never saw Saving Grace it’s too bad; I’ve not heard if it will be on DVD or not. I have to agree it was one of the best dramas I ever saw on TV. The Closer is pretty darn good as well.  Rizzoli and Isles is on as I write this – it has potential. It’s a little bumpy right now but the writers just haven’t found the character’s voices quite yet.

There is a new film being made based on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Well, the first third, I guess. It’s being made on a shoestring. I’m concerned about that. I’m more concerned because it’s rumored that it is being set in the present day instead of 1950s America. I hope not…I’m afraid that just won’t fly. Too many changes in technology. Rearden Metal would still be a great development, but not as groundbreaking as it would have been in 1957.

L. Neil Smith, in his collection of essays called Lever Action, says the problem with selling the Libertarian ideals is that it has been easy to say what Libertarians are against, but not so much what they are for. One of the main reasons he wrote all the science fiction books he wrote was to show how much better a Libertarian world could be.

I think he has a point. From way back in the early days of science fiction, most of the future or alternate universe societies that have been depicted have been dystopias, and mainly socialist dystopias to boot. (Or, of course, your basic post-Apocalypse chaos.) There aren’t enough stories out there showing how we could make the world better.

Often, the socialist  or authoritarian societies are highly regimented and the hero has to break out of it or destroy it. But nobody follows up on that! Is the struggle to build a better world that uninteresting?

If I can get back to the second book, the one I’ve been working on since the first of the year, I’ve been trying to do that. The bad days are behind us, and the country is trying to rebuild. Some of it works ok and some is very difficult to do. While the US is trying to rebuild its economy, they are also trying to build up some national pride, in this case by having their own space exploration teams. (Whether we can afford it or not.)

And the contrast istherefore  drawn between the struggling US and two states that seceeded a couple of generations back: Michigan and Texas. Both states rebuilt themselves as highly Libertarian societies, although in somewhat different ways, and the rest of the US both looks to them for guidance and wants to resent them for their success.

All I need is a few hours to start writing again…

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