Friday, February 11, 2011

Idle Thought on Starting Reading Connie Willis's "Blackout"

In a Connie Willis world, advanced forms of communication are completely impossible. Forget about cellphones, SMS, text messages, e-mail -- her world of 2060 doesn't even seem to have landlines that work correctly, or a functioning post office. Even messages written on paper and handed to people don't work out right.

No, Willis writes about a pre-literate world: one in which the only possible way of getting a message to someone is by standing right in front of that person and flapping your jaws. Of course, she also insists that doing that rarely works, either.

It all becomes bizarrely solipsistic, the more you think about it -- all of those Connie Willis characters, all utterly trapped in their own heads and unable to transmit information out.

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