Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where I Ramble - Presumably About Being Old

IT'S 2013! When I was a kid, and I mean a pretty young kid, first coming to grips with the concept of numbers – not just learning to count, add and subtract, but of considering what numbers can mean. I think I already wrote in a previous post about my quest as a child to write ALL the numbers down – I used to try to think of the future. In 10 years, 20. In all my imagined futures I would envision myself as an adult, in a way that only a 5 or 6 year old can, and think of how great my life would be (eating cookies anytime I want, staying up past 8 p.m., being able to buy comics whenever I want… and yes, all those things are great).  

But in all that, I was never able to think beyond the year 2000. There was this fog in my head that started there and made thinking of what life would be like as a middle-aged person an impossible task. No, anything beyond 2000 was so far in the future as to be unknowable.

So here I am, 13 years beyond that fog of ignorance, and I’m still struggling with thinking of my life in the present tense. On occasion I’ll have these brief flashes of insight, a moment of perspective, that lets me consider my place in the world. I shiver at those times.

For example, I picked up a copy of 2001 a year or two ago. I’ve never read it. I’ve read Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End. But I nothing else by him (as a solo author at least, I’ve read many of his collaborations – and although he collaborated with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay to 2001, the novel is all Clarke).

So I grabbed it on my way out the door to work yesterday. I had just finished reading The Quantum Thief and wasn’t so sure what I wanted to start on next. I ended up not starting it because I’ve been caught up in the surprisingly excellent Gone Girl which is a mystery novel that my wife strongly recommended I listen to as I drive to and from work – I’ve since been spending lunch hours in my car, as well as looking for excuses to take a drive.

Now, I have The Sentinel at home as well, and I intended to read it first, as I’ve been made aware that that was the novel that inspired 2001, which of course Clarke rewrote, renamed and released with the same title as the movie.* 

It’s been a joke for so long that it’s stopped being noteworthy, but the story of 2001 is supposed to take place in 2001, more than a decade ago. What dawned on me the other day however, was when I stumbled upon the novel 2010 (the sequel) and realized that takes place in our past too.

Damn. The future is the past. Other people point his out on a regular basis. I know that on an intellectual level… but sometimes I’ll have a moment of clarity where it just punches me in the gut and it hits me in a whole different way.

ALL THAT SAID, it made me think of 2013, how incredibly old the child version of me would think I am,  and what I want to do with my golden years. Last year, I wrote a post of my goals and by all accounts I did not achieve them. This year I hope to finally embrace revision and editing and get all those 85% completed things that I have and finally wrap them all up. And that’s it. That way, should I die (because I'm old), then I'd have something there, rotting on a hard drive, that would let the people that are here k
now that I finished something.

Oh, there is one more thing, I've got an awesome novel idea that I’ve got to get done.

ONE OTHER THING - I there was a story on io9 the other day about music being composed entirely by a computer. Click..... HERE..... to read and watch a performance.

It made me think of two things. 1) I told you so (I wrote a post about this back in 2009 I think. It was very insightful). And 2) Computer written novels will be coming soon.

*That doesn’t happen too often, but that isn’t unprecedented, I know Steven Gould did that with Jumper. He wrote the novel, then when it was made into a Hollywood extravaganza, he wrote an entirely different novelization of the movie based on the novel… I think Disney’s John Carter also had a novelization, but one obviously not written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, they say monkeys could write a novel. Think it would be easier for a computer.
Yeah, it's weird when you start to realize all the futuristic movies are now the past.
I used to think fifty was old. Now that I'm really close, it's not so old after all.

mooderino said...

I predict computer written novels will be very bad, barely readable and hugely successful.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

It's even funnier when I watch those old Twilight Zone episodes where "the future" is 1974 or something, before I was born. I'm sure a lot of people weren't thinking much past 2012 since the Mayans were supposed to kill us all. Now what are we supposed to look forward to?

M.J. Fifield said...

Mood's prediction made me laugh and then nod my head and say "Yep."

I thought Gone Girl was an incredible novel.

Andrew Leon said...

Well, you know, the future is now. Or something like that.

Nicole said...

Ouch, the idea of computer written novels makes me cry a little inside. But you're probably right. Good luck with your goals this year.

Jo said...

50 to me is so young Alex.

I dread the thought of computer generated novels, they would be full of tropes.

We did something similar at school as a kid, thought about how old we would be in 2000. I thought I would never get that old.

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't think computer-generated books are too far off, either. So many things people do can be done by machines now.

Rusty Webb said...

@ Alex - No, 50 doesn't seem old to me either now. Both my parents are in their 70's now and they don't seem very old to me either.

@Mooderino - I predict that your prediction is correct.

@PT - What is the next Apocalypse? I'm sure one will come up pretty soon. You know, the 2020 Aztec curse or something.

@MJ - Finished it last night. Awesome.

@Andrew - No, the present is now, the future is
later. Geez. Oh wait, I get it. Yes, you're right.

@Nicole - Thanks for the well wishes. And yes, I shudder when I have to compete with a machine to do something artistic. So sad.

@Jo - Yes, I stare into the mirror and swear that the person looking back isn't me. It's disturbing.

@Golden - yes, the things that make humans unique are getting less and less numerous. Gourmet cooking maybe will still be a human endeavor for a while.