Hieroglyph

{4.5/5} “Audacious projects like the Great Pyramids, the Hoover Dam, or a moon landing didn’t just happen by accident. Someone had to imagine them and create a narrative that brought that vision to life for others. They are dreams that became real not because they were easy, but because they were hard… Big dreams — infectious, inclusive, optimistic dreams — are the vital first step to catalyzing real change in the world.” (from “Introduction: A Blueprint for Better Dreams” by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer)

Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer, published in 2014

“Degrees of Freedom” by Karl Schroeder — When a tanker runs aground in a spot where a pipeline is supposed to be built, the Haida block the tanker terminal. Rob, representing the Canadian government, heads to Haida Gwaii for negotiations. Rob thinks he knows how negotiations like this go, but he’s in for as surprise when the Haida use the latest in technology.

It’s an interesting story packed with ideas plucked from the future. It’s about people taking control of their own destiny.

“Elephant Angels” by Brenda Cooper — A group called Elephant Angels keeps an eye on elephant herds by drone. Francine is new at it — she controls a drone from her home in the US. Meanwhile, Makena sits atop the elephant matriarch while Francine’s drone flies above her. Some people in the world will still pay for ivory, so they have to watch out for poachers.

Cooper’s prose will pull you into the story. And her logic will make you question why this isn’t being done right now.

I’ve read one of these stories before — “Atmosphaera Incognita” by Neal Stephenson. The book also contains stories by Gregory Benford, David Brin, Cory Doctorow, and Bruce Sterling.

The stories are inspirational — just what you need right now.

This book is part of a larger project, the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. I’m rating it as a book of short stories. What about its other goal — has it or will it inspire scientists? It definitely has the potential to do so.

One more quotation: “Competition between the Western democracies and the communist powers obliged the former to push their scientists and engineers to the limits of what they could imagine and supplied a sort of safety net in the event that their initial efforts did not pay off. A grizzled NASA veteran once told me that the Apollo moon landings were communism’s greatest achievement.” (from “Preface: Innovation Starvation” by Neal Stephenson)

And one more quotation: “Being in school is like being on a conveyor belt in a cafeteria. I’m whisked past smells that might be tantalizing as new-baked bread or as sour as overcooked cabbage, but, whether it’s good or bad, there’s never enough time for me to put food on my plate and eat it. Maybe I can, they tell me, sometime in the future, if I play my cards right, the cards that everyone assures me exist but that I have never seen.” (from “Girl in Wave : Wave in Girl” by Kathleen Ann Goonan)

And just one more quotation: “Because we’re on the same side. The human race’s side. but when the fridge is humming away, you can lose track of that, start to feel like it’s zero sum, a race to see who can squirrel away the most nuts before the winter comes. When a big shaker hits, though, you remember that you aren’t the kind of squirrel who could live in your tree with all your nuts while the other squirrels starved and froze out there.” (from “The Man Who Sold the Moon” by Cory Doctorow)

This is the first book I’ve read from Finn or Cramer.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 28th, 2020 at 9:10 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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