History’s Peculiar Smile

Woke up yesterday to see someone reminiscing about IRC. It was a little like someone describing how they used to send smoke signals across the great plains. Remember “moblogging”? I was doing that in the 1990s, with a collection of kit that even at the time seemed the product of a dated alternate future.  Modular, silvered plastics, plugs and stub antennae. Nokia phones of styles you wouldn’t have been surprised to encounter in SPACE: 1999. We’ve burned through a remarkable amount of futurity in the last 21 years. They fly spaceships with tablet consoles in THE EXPANSE and we’re not impressed because the crew were flying the Enterprise with giant iPads in 1988.

All old thoughts. But dragged to the surface by talk of a communications method created in 1988, the year of flying starships with giant iPads, and now reportedly down to less than half a million users worldwide.  Makes me wonder how many people send smoke signals in a year.

Starting the year by looking back is okay.  It’s such a strange and lovely position, in post-science fiction times, to take stock of the new plastic fossils that have gathered in the foothills of the future.

 

Reading: THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin,  Masha Gessen (UK) (US)