Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

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I’ve been meaning to link to the New Yorker‘s Philip K. Dick profile for a few days, and so at long last here it is.

But Dick has also become for our time what Edgar Allan Poe was for Gilded Age America: the doomed genius who supplies a style of horrors and frissons. (In both cases, it took the French to see it; the first good critical writing on Dick, as on Poe, came from Europe, and particularly from Paris.) Like Poe’s, Dick’s last big book was a work of cosmic explanation in which lightning bolts of brilliance flash over salty oceans of insanity.

In other sci-fi news, this 1974 Asimov lecture on the future of humanity is pretty excellent reading, as is Karl Schroeder’s notion of colonizing the Earth. Here’s Asimov:

And the interesting thing is that if we can get through the next thirty years, there’s no reason why we can’t enter into a kind of plateau which will see the human race last, perhaps, indefinitely…till it evolves into better things…and spread out into space indefinitely. We have the choice here between nothing…and the virtually infinite. And the nice thing about it is that you guys in the audience today, when I say guys I mean it in a general term embracing gals…when you guys in the audience today will still be barely middle-aged when you will know which choice has been made.

See, I’ve been so shrewd that I fixed it so that I was born in 1920.

[group laughs]

Which means I’ll be safely dead.

[group laughs]

Before the crunch comes!

[group laughs]

But you guys will see for yourself. I hope you see a world in which mankind has decided to be sane. But I must say in all honesty that I figure that the chances are against it.

Thank you.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 14, 2007 at 6:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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