Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Science-fiction writers go to work on current events

From Jerry Pournelle, of course:

Sci-fi writers join war on terror

By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY

Looking to prevent the next terrorist attack, the Homeland Security Department is tapping into the wild imaginations of a group of self-described "deviant" thinkers: science-fiction writers.


The 9/11 Commission called the 2001 terrorist attacks a result of the government's "failure of imagination." For this group, Walker says, there's no such thing as an "unthinkable scenario."

Why offer their ideas to the government instead of private companies that pay big bucks?

"To save civilization," Ringworld author Larry Niven says. "We do it in fiction. Why wouldn't we want to do it in fact?"
That Larry Niven line is worth repeating: "To save civilization." We loosely use the term "Western civilization." But there is no other kind, not really. The Enlightenment is only a few hundred years old. More such unconstrained thinking, please.

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