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Weapons of Choice and the culture war.

September 29, 2021 - 16:40 -- Admin

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I spent an hour or so tweaking the screenplay for the Weapons of Choice pilot today - mostly working on the dialogue. By an odd coincidence I'd spent the morning reviewing the first seven or eight chapters of WW 3.1, the next really long book in the series. So my head was bouncing between the two projects but inside the same narrative space.

One thing I kept thinking about was the relatively primitive nature of real world tech when I was first drafting Weapons. I think I wrote the draft on an old black plastic powerbook. I still have it.

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And my phone was definitely some sort of analogue brick. So those books were wish fulfilment in a way. Flexipads were the iPhones I knew I wanted, but imagined as being decades away, not a couple of years. The RAN eventually got, or maybe one day will get, nuclear subs. But not fusion powered. The biggest miss, however, was cultural.

There are no neo-nazis in those books. No epistemic collapse in the nature of our shared reality. No QAnon. No Trump. No climate crisis. There is Hillary, but hilariously (or so I thought at the time) she is a unifying figure. The most uncompromising wartime president in US history.

Ha. Ha. And if I do say so... Ha.

I've slipped a couple of iPhones and Samsungs into the next book, and I'm pretty comfortable doing so. But I've been plagued by the question of how much of our civilisational malaise, if any, to import. It seems weird now that we've passed Transition Day (15 January 2021) not to have the uptimers thinking about the things that they would have been thinking about.

Some of them are easy. Slim Jim moves into renewable energy, not to save the planet, but because J. Paul Getty is mean to him. Lonesome Jones hits a ceiling in his career, because he runs into a senior officer who is openly bigoted against him. They're simple narrative plays, easily made.

But I really can't decide how much, or little, if any, of the culture war to let trickle back in time. It is a part of the original story for sure. Guys like J Edgar Hoover, for instance, mobilise against the uptimers because they can't countenance the future they promise. (And for their part the uptimers, or some of them anyway, organise their own push back against the reactionary forces. What is the Zone, if not a safe space).

Anyway, this is what I'm pondering in my imaginary worlds right now.