If you’ve never seen this coverage, I urge you to watch at least the landing segment (~10 min.) and the first 10-20 minutes of the Moon walk. I hope that with the old time TV display and poor YouTube quality, you get a small sense of how someone 40 years ago might have experienced it. I’ve watched the whole thing a couple of times while putting this together and I’m struck by two things: 1) how it’s almost more amazing that hundreds of millions of people watched the first Moon walk *live* on TV than it is that they got to the Moon in the first place, and 2) that pretty much the sole purpose of the Apollo 11 Moon walk was to photograph it and broadcast it live back to Earth.
The question at which we now arrive is the question with which Gibson himself seems to have been faced: If traditional science fiction tells stories through an imagined future, how does one tell those stories in a vital and sensible way when the boundaries between past, present, and future are constantly eroding?
The answer that Gibson seems to have hit upon–and the answer to which other authors seem to be looking as well–is to do away with the tradition, and with it, the constraints of temporal setting. Gibson’s current work maintains the sensibilities and the flavor of science fiction, but his stories are set in the present, and are about the present–in a present so nebulous that it could pass for recent past or near future, or some parallel universe. His fiction reflects atemporality. It embraces the blurring of the lines.” —Speculative Fiction, Atemporality, and Augmented Reality » Cyborgology
Changes in the neurochemistry of traders was first noted as an effect of the risk mechanisms in the brain early in the century. The traders on board the Arktika were employees of the worlds most demanding and simultaneously rewarding trading system. They developed extreme emotional imbalances outside of their work resulting ultimately in a policy of isolated residency aboard and urgent study of ways to stabalise their neuro-biology with the establishing of neuro-genetics laboratory on board. Later, the first growths developed on traders as chemical changes forced keratin cells in the epidermis to fuse. The pattern of the growths were influenced by the intensity of the chemical changes in the brain, themselves reflections of trading activity. Depending on the experience, age and stability of the trader the compound growths could extend up to 300mm without any side effects. The growths became objects of intense study from corporate geneticists hoping to gain some insight into this melding of man and market.
If China goes on to repeat the mission 60 or so years after the original, it would prove what? To my mind, it would represent a poverty of imagination, not riches. It would be one of a long line of Chinese efforts to “catch up” with the West. While it makes sense to try to catch up to the best in auto or airplane manufacturing, merely trying to repeat the glories of the American success program would be a step backward.
The U.S. Apollo moon program ended early because of the cost and because of a lack of purpose. Americans hit golf balls on the moon and drove around in lunar jalopies – cars and golf being two American obsessions. What would Chinese astronauts do differently? Play ping pong?” —
–William Gibson, Pattern Recognition