Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 10 - Which sci-fi universe/reality would you most like to live in?

I don't want to live in most of the science fiction universes I read about. Most of them are full of wars, Tie-fighters, body horror monsters, explosions in space, and robots that rise up to destroy their makers. The obvious problem is that a utopian universe would be lovely, calm and safe but that doesn't exactly make for exciting fiction.

It would be lovely to live in a universe where there really was a time-travelling alien with a sonic screwdriver who was always there to save the Earth. But again I'm looking beyond the British Invaders worlds. So let's look at a society which has perfected medicine, and has eliminated need and scarcity. Everything is available at the drop of a hat, the humanoids in this society don't age, they have drug glands, an inbuilt neural net that connects them to a vast Internet, and they spend their time having terrific parties or pursuing their academic or cultural interests. Iain M Banks' The Culture is the place to be if you want perfect safety and happiness all the time.

Of course, perfect safety and happiness doesn't really drive plots along so Banks skilfully brings The Culture into contact and conflict with other space-going civilisations to generate the tension needed for his stories. They even have a branch of The Culture known as Contact specially for this purpose.

So put me in the Culture universe and I'll be very happy. And I won't feel the need to push the limits like some of the Culture humans do by rock climbing without an AG belt, lava rafting, or swinging about in a decrepit cable car system. Well, not at first at least. I guess happiness and immortality gets boring eventually.

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