Brian Aldiss on the Prophecies of Science Fiction
Over at Times Online, Brian Aldiss examines the prophecies of science fiction, particularly in the area of space travel.
In July 1969, Nasa’s Apollo 11 achieved the first landing on the moon. What excitement! Like millions of others, the Aldiss family watched the event on television. Meanwhile, through our living-room windows, we could see the moon itself. A strange double vision. Prayers may indeed have been said, but it was science that got us there.
While I had always been an ardent believer in space travel, my hope was less for conquest than for the chance to understand ourselves better.
I do believe there is confusion everywhere on Earth – confusion probably caused by deficiencies in the human brain. Supposing we encountered a species of unruffled benevolence, it might act as our tutor – or possibly our psychoanalyst. It’s only natural for us to dream of other kinds of lives, better lives. A disturbing question (not discussed among our leaders) haunts us: the doubt that human consciousness is fit for purpose.
Filed under: Books
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