Wednesday, August 11, 2004

the discovered country

In Very Far Away From Anywhere Else by Ursula LeGuin (written very long ago), teenage protagonist Owen dreams up a country:
Thorn was a very small country, on an island in the South Atlantic...The wind blew all the time in Thorn. The coasts were high and rocky...steep cliffs over the sea...wind blowing over the long sheep pastures...the city...built of granite and cedarwood, looking out over the windy cliffs...

Thorn didn't have much government in the usual sense, but they had some of them was called the Scholary. It was built part way up one of the highest mountains...had a huge library, and laboratories and basic science equipment and lots of rooms and studies. People could go there and take classes and teach classes...At night they all met, if they felt like it, in a big hall with several fireplaces, and talked about genetics and history and sleep research and polymers and the age of the Universe. If you didn't like the conversation at one fireplace, you could go to another one...
No, at the time this was written Thorn had not yet acquired an institution called the Demagoguery, or the Comment Spammery or the Trollery or the Pornery, but otherwise it does seem strangely familiar.

tangential, from a LeGuin interview -
There isn't much to watch on American TV now... Did you know that most of the laugh tracks they use are so old that the people you hear laughing at the sitcom are mostly dead?

No comments: