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i am constantly amazed by our ability to become rapidly blase about technological near-miracles which would have seemed mind-bendingly inconceivable a few years previously. yesterday i watched puss in boots with my son and a friend of his (it was, by the by, rather good and i iaughed out loud on several occasions). there was utterly convincing fur. lots of it. there was an utterly convincing bowl of milk hurled onto the floor in close-up. there were utterly convincing mouths of which we saw the utterly convincing interiors. there was 3d which was not so convincing in my case because i have eccentric fixation in one eye, but i still have to buy and wear those bloody glasses to stop the screen looking fuzzy, but there was 3d nevertheless. these things were impossible only a few years ago. in 2004 i wrote a tv adaptation of raymond briggs's fungus the bogeyman and the whole project was, frankly, hobbled by the impossibility of doing any kind of liquid in cgi, and unpleasant liquids of all kinds are an essential part of the whole bogey world. but now...? for brief periods i sat watching the film godsmacked by what i was seeing. seconds later, of course, i returned to a passive mindless state of blase acceptance.
later in the evening i played, or rather attempted to play, my first xbox game. l a noire (this mostly involved failing to steer a police car). again, brief periods of gobsmackedness, followed seconds later by another dead pedestrian. i remember playing asteroids as a student on those glass pub-tables-come-games-consoles. white lines on a lack background. irregular polygons moving around and getting broken up. period
(in my defence i would like to say that i also read a few chapters of middlemarch and made some bread this morning).
which is perhaps why sci-fi is different now. there's simply no mileage in suggesting how thrilling the future might be, because we know that when we invent matter tranport we'll be using it to get instantaneous deliveries of green beans from kenya and whining about the fact that a coiuple of them are a bit brown.