In the 80′s, when I was little, I devoured the Choose Your Own Adventure books - “If you decide to approach the manor, turn to page 3. If you decide to go back, turn to page 2″…
I would have been delighted to know that by the time I had my own child, almost everything would be interactive (not to mention we’d finally have functional video phones: FaceTime. Skype, iChat…). One needn’t wonder why our kids are drawn to objects like the iPhone and the iPad – these are lighted windows into an infinite world of manipulatable magic. It’s C.Y.O.A. on mega-steroids.
It’s disconcerting to imagine if there will ever be a time where technology is no longer sustainable at this level. With the “end of oil” looming in our future, will we always be able to sustain the electrical grids and conduits needed to pipe the internet consistently and everywhere? Will be have endless electricity at our fingertips? WriterCast’s David Wilk has a new author interview up with James Howard Kunstler, well-known for his apocalyptic futurist non-fiction (The Long Emergency), but who also has penned a series of novels that take place after we’ve taken the long fall from techno-utopia to a low-tech, agrarian world much like that of our great-grandparents. Kunstler believes that the reality he writes about is indeed our future and that we all ought to brace ourselves for the transition. Beyond the obvious survival issues we will encounter in a world of localized, hand-made living (learn to farm, learn to drive a horse-drawn carriage, learn to preserve jam, sew a bed sheet, raise a barn, gut a chicken…), certain things we enjoy ruminating on at Livewires will no doubt be drastically changed: Reading, writing, and technology. Of course you can remember those days as a youngster huddling around D&D notebooks with dogeared pages, but kids these days, they have W.O.W. As awesome as they were at the time, can you imagine going from a high-tech wonderworld of infinite information and choices, back to the world of those cozy, all too slim little C.Y.O.A. novels? From an infinite library of iPad books downloaded in your den while you make your morning coffee, to creating leaflets on a letterpress (sayonara Twitter?) or hitching up a horse to get to the library down yonder in the neighboring township (while you’re there trade some sugar for some milk at the dairy)?
Someday our children’s children may have quite an adjustment to make. Lucky for you and I, we still know how to turn pages…
Listen to the interview with Kunstler here.
Read an amazing short story from The New Yorker called The Dungeon Master, here.