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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories discusses...

Hearing Cassandra’s Voices

with Noel Joslin

Thanks for reading list from Cassandra’s epics. I have always wanted to read Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God.

I think your view from the 50th-century historian is correct, sadly. I wonder if it’s too late to do anything to avert the catastrophe. Will we, one day, find a substitute for petro-chemicals? Anti-matter perhaps.

Although I like being alive, I’m glad that I won’t be around to see the worst of it. Selfish I know, but we’ll just have to leave it to future generations to try to sort it out for themselves.

Thanks for putting my response to your review on Bewildering Stories. by the way. Anyway, take care.

Best Wishes, Noel

Thank you, Noel. I think you speak for everyone’s fears: the present is just too good to be true, and it’s beginning to look more and more like a house of cards.

Anti-matter? Fusion power? Even if either were accessible today, it’s probably too late to stave off catastrophic global warming. To quote a Devil’s Advocate: “Humanity has been able to run away from itself for a long time; now we’ve come to the end of the line.”

In the mid-20th century, Isaac Asimov took history very seriously but was nonetheless optimistic in his science fiction. He has something of a mirror image in Stanislaw Lem, whose surrealistic writing reflects a pessimistic view with tinges of Orwell’s 1984. Perhaps they can stand as poles on a world-view spectrum.


In the late 20th century, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek franchise portrayed a dramatic but optimistic future. And yet in an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) tells the seer Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) that Q (John DeLancie) has done the Federation a favour by prematurely introducing the Borg. He says, in effect, “We’ve been given a kick in our complacency.”

In real life, the “kick” doesn’t come from anything so conventional as invaders from outer space; quite the contrary. Rather, we see being realized the words with which cartoonist Walt Kelly has his character Pogo sum up the 20th century: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Hang in there.

Don Webb

Copyright © 2014 by Noel Joslin
and Bewildering Stories

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