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Wonder what George would think?

There is a memorable line by Shakespeare, spoken by Miranda in The Tempest. On first seeing the handsome young man who has gotten shipwrecked on her island, she says, "Oh, brave new world, that has such people in it!" George Orwell, of course, gave the line a sharper edge by using part of it to name a classic dystopic novel.

But these days we are all living in a brave new world. I carry my cell phone with me whenever I leave the house, and with it I am rarely out of touch; I can call, text, and email from pretty much anywhere in the DC metro area— except possibly the lower levels of the parking garage. Three decades ago, the idea of personal phones was shiny and new, and now we're used to it. We can't wait for newer, faster ways to connect.

I use Facebook to keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. I use Twitter to find out what's new in the world in general and learn about interesting developments in publishing in particular. I blog here on LiveJournal because it provided more networking options than Blogger, and this makes it easier for me to connect with other writers. My kids think all this connectivity is normal, but none of it existed when I was their age.

My Kindle is always in my purse, and it allows me to carry around a library of books. Any time I have the time, I have something good to read. And when I hear about a book or magazine I might like, I can buy it in seconds using the wireless connection (that's actually a very dangerous feature of the Kindle. I buy a lot more books now). Of course, Amazon demonstrated the "1984" aspects of the wireless connection by deleting Brave New World and 1984 from people's Kindles without their knowledge, so there is an Orwellian edge to progress.

But still, when you stop to think about it, it is pretty amazing. Dare I say, it's like something out of science fiction?

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 20th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Makes you wonder what the next quarter century will bring :)
Aug. 20th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
Have you read Feed, by MT Anderson? Sheds a different sort of light on these amazing things we've all begun to rely so heavily upon.

I'm the same--were it not for IM, I don't know how I would have survived the two years my daughter lived in California (I'm in CT.) She was always there--a little user icon on my screen. If I wanted to tell her something, I could do so in an instant. I remember when my brother lived in California back in the 80s, we had to wait until after nine to call him, and then could only stay on a few minutes or go broke with phone bills.

Things have changed, for the better, I believe. There are, however, dangers that I hope we avoid.
Aug. 20th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
I can agree on that. Convenience has a cost.

p.s. forgot to say I have not read FEED. Looked it up, tho. Sounds interesting, if very grim.

Edited at 2009-08-20 06:15 pm (UTC)
Aug. 20th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Very grim, but really, really good.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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