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« Scary New World | Main | India Worries About Goo »

December 12, 2007


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Overall rating: 7/10
Story Quality: 5/10
Uniqueness/opening other's eyes: 9/10

I'm not sure why you're staging the release of these as they're all available on the Nanowerk site, but each is of varying quality. I did feel that the approach was unique in that the process of telling a story about the future and attempting to add depth helps the reader to recognize that we don't know what else might happen ALONG with technology developments like molecular nanotechnology. So given the disclaimers that are in front of each scenario I guess they've achieved the goals you've set.

I have to admit that I had a difficult time making myself read through a few of them. It really did feel like they were written by committee. Sometimes this can happen when two authors collaborate and I know I see split agendas when I read a document that a team of people write at the office. Aside from how difficult it is to write "as a team" and maintain a story line (or tone/theme), I thought that as a whole they were marginally compelling. I wondered if it might have had more of an impact to allow the committee to brainstorm some variations on the future, then let your best writer go out and create the stories in isolation. Follow that up by a peer review by individual (or each) committee members?

There was a lot of ideological baggage in the scenarios that didn't appear to contribute to the theme of looking into the future with respect to responsible nanotechnology. An example is specifying gender in the next president as female. This is very likely to trigger a strong negative response in about half of the population because obviously you are saying that Hilary Clinton is going to win the next election. Why go out of your way to bring politics into this future-casting? You can't really know who will win in a political climate that has been basically 50/50 for the past two election cycles. You have a 50/50 chance to give your scenarios an obsolete flavor less than a year from today. Science fiction writers tend to try to be as vague about specifics like that as they can or push the story out far enough that they can place "generic politician A" into the role and create a new character.

Sorry for the long post. Again, overall there was some compelling value in placing the reader into various futures, but less non-nano specifics and more continuity in the writing would probably make a bigger impact by allowing the reader to focus on CRN's primary agenda.

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