But I digress.
So this Festival is hosting Vincent Lam, Ania Szado and Robert J Sawyer and they will read from their current works. Do you wish you were here? Admittedly, SF-head that I am, I have not heard of the other two, but I have read some of Robert Sawyer's novels and short stories. You can read the opening chapters of Sawyer's latest, Red Planet Blues, here. I started it, began enjoying the mid-future Mars he paints with deliberately grimy brush, then I had to get back to work. Ahem.
It's set maybe 100 years in the future, when Mars is settled to some extent, and the main character is a hard-up private detective starting on a missing-person case. One major technological breakthrough that plays a major role in the plot is the idea, in vogue amongst many SF types these days, that sooner or later we'll be able to upload our personalities onto computer hardware or into replacement bodies, thereby extending our lives tremendously. A kind of ultimate hard-drive backup.
Here's a snippet of dialogue as he visits the local police force which is renowned for its sloppiness and inattention to duty:
The NKPD consisted of eight cops, the junior ones of whom took
turns playing desk sergeant. Today it was a flabby lowbrow named
Huxley, whose blue uniform always seemed a size too small for
him. "Hey, Hux," I said, walking over. "Is Mac in?"
Huxley consulted a monitor then nodded. "Yeah, he's in, but he
don't see just anyone."
"I'm not just anyone, Hux. I'm the guy who picks up the pieces
after you clowns bungle things."
Huxley frowned, trying to think of a rejoinder. "Yeah, well ..."
he said, at last.
"Oooh," I said. "Good one, Hux! Way to put me in my place."
He narrowed his eyes. "You ain't as funny as you think you are,
"Of course I'm not. Nobody could be that funny."
So I am plotting. What one question should I ask the author, if I get the chance? Here are some contenders:
- If Microsoft launched a technology to upload the human mind onto a computer, would you do it?
- When you invented your future-Mars, how much did current Mars colonisation ideas affect your planning?
- Have you signed up with Mars One for a one-way ticket? That would be a great inspiration for a future novel!
- Do you know a friendly publisher I could talk to?