When I think of people who have a firm grasp on how the world works and what’s going on, really, coupled with the ability to make spot-on predictions, I of course think of science fiction authors. In the last few days, that view has been cemented by a couple of blog posts and news reports.
First, Orson Scott Card recommends someone as McCain’s dream running mate. Psst, Geof, don’t follow that link.
Second, Sigma is back in the news. Sigma is a group of science fiction authors who advise the Department of Homeland Security on how to protect the nation. Sigma authors include Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Greg Bear, and David Brin. What kind of things do they discuss?
The 45-minute panel discussion quickly deteriorated as federal, local and state homeland security officials, and at least one congressional aid, attempted to ask questions, which were largely ignored.
Instead the writers used their time to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.
That’s not the best part, though.
Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.
“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.
“Do you know how politically incorrect you are?” Pournelle asked.
“I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied.
Oh, science fiction authors, is there anything you can’t do?