Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Marches On

I have to buy a new television.

This is not a tragedy. It's an imperfect world, televisions break all of the time. I'm even lucky enough that I have the spare cash lying around with which to purchase said idiot box. I'm annoyed, however, because I shouldn't need a new television. My problem isn't with the television itself, it's with my VCR/DVD player. (Yes, one of those ancient dinosaurs still exists. Whippersnappers, I still remember what it was like when you had to set your VCR in order to tape shows.) The machine broke about a year or so again and, lazy miss that I am, I've just been watching DVDs on my laptop since then. That situation has been partly rectified with the addition of a Blu-Ray player, with just one tiny problem: my television is over ten years old and belonged to at least two other people before me. It has no idea what a Blu-Ray player is. It only knew what a DVD player was because the VCR half was willing to hold its hand, stroke its hair, and speak softly to it until the trembling stopped. But the television worked. In fact, the television still works, and I have to replace it because it's not compatible with newer technologies that will themselves become obsolete and have to be replaced with even newer toys to translate media. I'm very ambivalent about this, on multiple levels. On the one hand, inexpensive technology makes it much easier to get art and information across a wider expanse of people. On the other hand, we all know that you don't trust Skynet.

There, you know that I was going to get to a point eventually. I have other people who listen to my purely personal kvetchings, and I pay them in margaritas.

If there is one thing that still niggles at me when it comes to the e-book revolution, it's the impermanency. Viruses hit with much greater frequency than fires and floods, after all. One good catastrophe of even personal scope, and it's all gone. This is not necessarily a downside from a business standpoint: just make the books cheap enough so that the possibility of losing them isn’t such a stumbling block to purchase. I can't tell you the number of things I've impulse-bought at work because, what the hell, I can spend three bucks on soda a day when I'm really revving.

But on a larger scale than your friend's toddler pouring grapefruit juice down your tower? (Most likely because their parent thought that grapefruit juice was in any way going to agree with a three year-old's palate.) I write dark fiction because there is a part of me that cannot stop believing that humanity is going to pull some kind of zombpocalyse-level stunt at some point or another. As a group, we are probably the dumbest smart people the universe has ever seen. That's the part of me that runs in flailing circles at the idea of having the majority of any cultural knowledge, not just books, stored into a wholly digital format. Admit it, if you look at a CD, unless you're already familiar, you're not going to have any idea what the hell is on there or what you're supposed to do with it. E-readers are a little easier to figure out if you're flailing through the dark, as they generally have keyboards*, but I still worry sometimes about how fast our stores of knowledge are shifting into forms dependent upon civilization to translate them. There's a reason that we know nothing about Greek music.

Or maybe I'm just really annoyed about my television.

*Unless you have an iPhone or iPad, in which case you are absolutely, undeniably bringing about the eventual apocalypse. Sorry.

Okay, I'm posting this, anyway, because it makes me laugh just that hard, but two days after I wrote it, my car was hammered by hail. So maybe it's going to be a weather-related End Times rather than fast zombies with bifurcated jaws.


  1. Possitive, little miss sunshine as always. How on earth did you get from an old TV to an apocalypse?
    Anyway, I enjoyed this post. Maybe too much cause I still have juice dripping from my nose.

  2. @rockfreak

    Wait, you mean normal people don't have detailed zombie preparedness plans? If not zombies, then machines. My car is smarter than I am. Some crap's going to go down.