Stephenson's novel, Diamond Age is extremely interesting in that its technological vision of the 21st Century scares me more than it intrigues me. I find that in reading science fiction I end up questioning whether the pleasure in writing such novels is in imagining the ways we will eventually find to torture ourselves and reveling in them, or rather in prophecying our impending doom.
I think Stephenson is, to a degree, questioning the seeming current emphasis on technology as a saving force for humanity rather than just another force, which can be used for good and bad, at times simultaneously. This critique of technology's growing importance in our lives runs parallel alongside Vonnegut's critique of techonology's role in our lives in Player Piano and the unwarranted praise of those humans that develop it. At one point in Diamond Age a fresco is described that features "the Engineer and his cherubic workforce" (Stephenson 42). Basically, humans that create new technology = gods. Scary idea, folks. I guess what I wonder is how far off we are from such a situation right now, and where we think we're headed. Are these authors crazy, or are they speaking to a real issue in our society that should be addressed?Posted by josborne at October 5, 2003 10:12 PM