I'm pleased to say that my story Starfire has been selected by Andrew Hook for inclusion in his punkPunk! anthology, forthcoming from Doghorn Publishing. More news closer to publication.
The Panopticon is a building, a prison, in which the inmates believe they are being watched by many jailors, but is so constructed that it really only requires one. But the belief that the inmates behaviour is being seen is thought to be enough to control them.
Now we are "swimming in sensors and drowning in data" these days. But what if, just maybe, the recent revelations by Edward Snowden are part of the best psy-op conceived so far? What if the NSA isn't really reading everything we email or say on the phone? What if all they need to do is make us think that they can?
This isn't to say that the technology isn't there, or won't be soon. I was at a recent conference meeting where a Clinical Psychologist, free from all irony, asked us technologists if we could devise a way to make a machine to tell if patients are taking their tablets, and as they may be being treated because they think machines and computers are watching them, to make this new device unseen and unobtrusive.
But for now, maybe this is more like the race to have the biggest atom bomb. Instead of megatonnes of explosive material we should be thinking in megatonnes of explosive information. Maybe the NSA/USA needs to be seen to know all, know more, than the opposition.
The first thing I saw on the silver screen was the opening 20 minutes of Star Wars. It must have been a kid's Christmas party at my mum's work. I got a cap rifle too. But I couldn't understand why we couldn't see more of the robots in the desert. Given we didn't have VCRs in those days it was a while before I caught up. But the next two films, like many kids my age, were a bolt from the blue, each one a coming-of-age milestone. Fast forward to the first prequel and my work hired out the cinema so staff and family could see it; we were all so excited at new Star Wars ( I was working in a software/web company).
Nowadays it's no longer weird to like SF and superheroes. It's weirder not to. But this post isn't a lament about the mainstream adoption of these things. (The future arrived and no-one is creating any compelling new ones). Although it may be a consequence of it. You see Star Wars is part of the everyday. There are jokes on Friends about it, it's in the coffee, it's in the air. Jedi have infiltrated the Census. Star Wars is part of the consensus. Almost every weekend, if you haven't succumbed to buying the latest HD version, one of the films is showing on ITV2. You can buy related tat of any kind from HMV. It matters little to me if Disney now owns the new future of the franchise.
And that's the rub. I'm just not interested any more. I don't want to watch the films, again. Maybe the sequels quality was poor, or I was an adult. But I think it comes down to the fact the myth, the story, has become worn down through repetition. The symbols have lost their meaning. Just like vampires aren't scary threats now, they're just para-humans who have a particular diet which can be easily substituted. Star Wars has figuratively and literally been airbrushed into a empty spectacle. The Greek myths still have resonance after millennia. Star Wars lost its in less than 40 years. Star Wars is dead and the other franchises are next.