Better and better and better and utopia (if the current standards apply, of course)
See, I knew that if I delayed writing this it would get stuck in some kind of Zone of Intent, where I keep meaning to get to it but never do. So here it is, almost unchanged, from late last week.
While in Baltimore, we went down to DC one day to the Smithsonian. I used to live in DC, and did the whole Smithsonian thing. But the thing I did most was the Air and Space Museum. We must have gone once a month while I was living there, at least. I love that place. So, since we only had the one day, we of course went to the Air and Space Museum. I haven't been in 22 (my god I'm old) years and I was anxious to see how things were different.
Fundamentally it was the same place. Displays had changed, and things had been updated, and some stuff had been added. Space Ship One, for example, now hangs in the main atrium. That was cool. But what had changed most drastically, obviously, was me. I used to spend a lot of time in the space bit of the museum, there and the jets. And while I still enjoyed those sections, this time around I found myself most pleased by the Early Flight and Golden Age (that's the 20s and 30s) displays. And that got me thinking about Steampunk, and what about it appeals to me over science fiction, and how that relates to my writing. I haven't written a thing in about two weeks, btw, and I'm totally comfortable with that. Kind of. Anyway.
Here's what's unrolled in my head. What's the difference between cyberpunk and steampunk? They're both punk, right? There are some obvious answers, especially the cyber- and the steam-, differences in what powers the technology presented, differences in time period, stuff like that. But, as usual, I think that those are only superficial answers that are endemic of a much deeper difference. Here's the easy roundup: Cyberpunk is about progress. Steampunk is about Progress. Get it? In one the technology is a dehumanizing oppressotron, grinding people into units of consumption until we end up with dystopia or apocalypse or, you know, something equally dreadful and soaked in rain and neon. Steampunk, however, is all about science rampant. Science triumphing over the world, over disease, seizing the earth and reimagining it in the will of man. Nifty, huh?
Seems to be that the current Singularity movement is more similiar to steam than cyber. The whole idea of the Upload is persistently optimistic, a sort of upotia for the unathletic. Reminds me a lot of Postmillenialism.