Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Creature From Cleveland Depths

I used to read a lot of Fritz Leiber's work when I was younger. This one's a sharp little novella with the somewhat prescient speculative warning of the dangers of allowing machines to think for us and organize our lives. What is so clever about that, you might say, as you fiddle with your gadget of the week, or take that fifth call of the hour on your mobile/blackberry/pager. Very clever indeed if you consider this was first published in a pre-internet 1962. Leiber doesn't just throw up an idea and leave it hanging though. He makes the reader ask questions and wonder if some ideas change the world too much. Reading the story today is a much different experience than reading it decades ago because human invention has so radically changed the way we exist from day to day already. Back then the story was a mildly disturbing speculative piece, with ideas and gimmickry evolving like a virus or a new form of life. Today, in some respects, we are on the brink of doing just what the story warns against.

No comments:

Post a Comment