[ilds] Free Market

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Wed May 18 14:00:42 PDT 2016


Hi Bruce,

On 2016-05-17 6:47 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> I think Felix’s “inventions” should not be
> taken seriously, “Abel” in particular, but
> I’m not sure if Durrell himself thought so.
> He may have considered himself a sage and a
> prophet.

I suspect he's taking the science fiction as a useful ploy for his other 
interests -- Durrell's not working as an Asimov or Heinlein, and any 
scientific gestures might be a lot more akin to Samuel Delany or China 
Miéville: secondary to the literary and polemical interests.

I doubt we're meant to read the book as sage advice on the nature of 
technological advancement through pogonometry.  It's more in the nature 
of "phasers" or "beam me up!": a handy device for accomplishing other 
things without admitting that really it's just magical slight of hand. 
It's in the nature of science fiction -- after all, Heinlein "predicted" 
the invention of the water bed, but he didn't invent one; E.M. Forster 
"predicted" a world in which people interact via screens rather than 
face to face meetings, but he didn't invent the internet; and Durrell 
"predicted" a SR software system, but he didn't write the code...

That said, the inventions do allow Durrell to make some biting social 
critiques, which is home turf for much of science fiction and exactly 
what Heinlein, Forster, Delany, &c were about.  I'd say Durrell was too, 
just a bit more obviously here than elsewhere.

All best,
James


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