A couple of years ago I answered some interview questions posed by former SFWA publicist Jaym Gates. I’ve been thinking back on one of those questions lately, reflecting that I would answer it differently now. Here’s the original question and answer:
There’s an element of hope in your work, even in the military SF. What are your thoughts on the future, and what can we do to make it brighter?
My dad once told me that during the Cuban missile crisis (I was not quite two years old at the time) he was expecting nuclear Armageddon and was regretting that he’d ever brought children into the world. But what are you going to do? Every age has its terrors. I grew up in front of a TV that showed me the Vietnam War, assassinations, riots. There was Silent Spring, and the Doomsday Clock just minutes from midnight. For a time I was convinced I would die in a nuclear war before I was twenty. But it didn’t happen. We go on—and I learned to be more optimistic. There are classic novels in which everything ends very badly. They are warning novels, but that’s not what I want to write. I don’t have any formula for making the world a better place, but from the perspective of a former pessimist, it’s much better to hope, to imagine that we really do go on, and to do what we can to see that it happens.
That optimism I regained after the Cold War is mostly gone now, destroyed over the past few months as the Republican candidate continues to hold onto the support and adulation of a large percentage of the American people, regardless of how many times he says or does things that would have led to his rejection as a candidate in years past.
In an essay from last month, Ezra Klein references history by asking At long last, have we no decency?.
If we elect him, there will be no excusing our actions to future generations, no pleading ignorance in the face of threat. It was all here. It was all obvious. It will all be visible to our children, and to historians.
Read the piece in full here. It captures my feelings nicely.
What will also be visible to future generations, assuming we are still here to discuss it, is the utter lack of interest in the issue of climate change throughout this election. As if by ignoring the issue, everything will be all right. I don’t think so, and neither does astrophysicist Dr Katherine J Mack, who recently tweeted:
And while not directly related to the election, there is the travesty that took place at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – an armed takeover for which no one is responsible. That legal result threatens the future of all federal lands in this country, as well as the federal employees who care for those lands. This is an issue personal to me, that I’ll write about more in coming days.
In the meantime, PLEASE VOTE.
For those interested, here’s an earlier post I wrote on this election.