Tuesday, August 22, 2006

SFSignal Interview

Greetings from an airport terminal! I board within the hour for the flight to Anaheim & WorldCon. Meanwhile, I see that John DeNardo has just posted the interview he conducted with me for SFSignal. This one is pretty indepth, conducted one question at a time via email across a couple weeks, and hits on what I suspect are becoming some of my trademark concerns. (Nor did John ask any easy ones!)

Meanwhile, on the issue of the instant-access to knowledge that I think defines the paradigm shift of the last few years, John C. Wright has already posted an interesting comment:

"Let me tell you, the existance of Google as an aid to writing is so huge that it cannot be overstated. ...My assumption is that my readers have equal access to Google, and that if I make a mistake, even on a small fact, not merely one expert, but EVERYONE will have an ability to fact-check it. We are all experts now. "

I recall that Michael Pillar once commented that when on Star Trek: The Next Generation they had shown a starscape over southern France, a group of astronomers had written in to say that the stars weren't in their correct alignments for the 24th century. He thought that showed the scrutiny they were under and the incredible need to be accurate. Today, we might all be under such scrutiny. Meanwhile, I wonder how long it will be before blogger.com, Word, and my cellphone automatically research and fact check for me as I type.


Ted said...

Google has definitely revolutionized our access to information, but that's not the same as making everyone an expert. Most people don't know enough to even ask the right questions. If a reader isn't familiar with the conservation of momentum, Google isn't going to help him/her detect violations of that law in a story. (The same is true for the writer of the story, too.)

John DeNardo said...

To give credit where credit is due, my co-bloggers provided many of the questions. Blame them for the hard ones. Except Tim, whose "boxers or briefs" type question got cut. :)

Seriously, it was fun and we thank you!

Liviu said...


Interesting interview (except for the politics - the late unlamented USSR had more engineers per capita then anyone and so what; the use to which they are put counts and here the USA is the runaway leader in translating ideas into reality; when US scientists and engineeers will emigrate to India, China or even Europe rather than the other way around I would start to get worried).

I love your optimistic take on SF which I fully share, though I have one gripe - in an age of instant-access to knowledge as you put it, what about the years gap between getting a manuscript and publishing it?


Lou Anders said...

Hey all, just back from WorldCon so sorry for the delayed response. Ted, I agree. Have you read Justina Robson's SILVER SCREEN? The lead character has a perfect memory and wonders if this makes her smart, or merely the human equivalent of the Chinese Box experiment.

Ted said...

I haven't read Silver Screen, but I remember the scene in the movie The Paper Chase in which the professor (John Houseman) berates a law student with a photographic memory, telling him it's useless without the ability to think analytically.

Lou Anders said...

Exactly. Though I never saw PAPER CHASE