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Author Topic: Reading the Present into the Future
Robert Nowall
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I got to thinking---tough break, that, right?---and my mind turned to several SF works I'd read, and some details in them.

A lot of you have probably read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. A detail involving a media news crew coming along to get film and report on the news. Sure, the media was a little different, and the car they traveled in flew through the air rather than rumbled along roads, but I figured it was the same kind of thing as we see---a cameraman, soundman, and reporter going from report to report, place to place, in some kind of tricked-out news-van.

That's what I figured---but did Heinlein figure that, too?

Would that have been what Heinlein had in mind when he wrote and conceived that particular bit? I don't know if news crews roamed around when Heinlein wrote it (sometime in the 1950s). The events of the story around this idea imply there were more than three people involved. What did Heinlein think was in the van, and was it different from the way I had been seeing it?

You've read, I'm sure, any number of SF stories whose ideas anticipate reality. Take Captain Nemo's Nautilus, from Twenty Thousand Leauges Under the Sea. Jules Verne describes it in great detail---but later readers (and also moviemakers) will interpolate things like nuclear powered engines and atomic bombs. Is that fair to Verne? Is it accurate?

I've got a few other ideas, but I thought I'd throw the subject onto the boards and see if it provokes any comment.


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