Current affairs written on the wind (“mere ephemera,” according to my editor, which I didn’t ask). Right now, many of you folk back in 2011 will be fretting about political events in Egypt. The papers should be full of it. (You could still read newspapers back then, and they were often full of it.) No doubt the TV networks will be talking it up like they discovered Egypt only last week, and isn’t it amazing?
But that was just politics and economics and unhappy people, all of it written on the wind. Meanwhile, much more important issues were being neglected—the kind of thing that tends to evolve over many years and resists packaging as soundbites. (In fact, network news went on to nibble our world half to death, hardly noticing some other things that were about to chew up the whole shebang and swallow it, hardly leaving a crumb.)
More substantial issues. I won’t even mention China or emergent collectives or the PlagueBot. What would be the point? But here’s an Egyptian problem, one related to what was an world issue so important it made politics du jour pale by comparison. Though nearly nobody noticed (“Do you want that alliteration?” asks my editor, as though I need a machine holding my hand in this matter) because it wasn’t entertaining or dramatic enough. The Great Pyramids stood for more than 5,000 years. They may have even survived the PlagueBot, who can say? (That would be worth checking out.) Early in the 21st century, though, about 50 years ago, some people noticed the Pyramids were being eroded by piles of manure from where thousands of tourists rode camels around them, not to mention crusts of salt from where thousands more visitors sweated all over everything. (Never mind the city of Cairo had already spread out to swallow the Pyramids anyway, with highrises, traffic and air pollution also doing their bit.)
That was just one example of where mass tourism—along with urbanization, industrialization and human carelessness, not to mention plain old cussedness—having already made a mess of our natural environment, went on to destroy our cultural monuments. Rising sea levels soon made much of this problem moot, in any case. (Yeah, yeah. I know. Bad style. “Moot” interrupts the flow of my argument, since many readers will stop to savor this too-rarely used word. So says my editor, which knows many things I don’t, including whether I should worry about having many readers, never mind whether they’re going to be stopping or not.)
Qubital saviors. Then along came the generated realities. Now we had a way everyone could enjoy all the forests and pyramids anybody could handle, they didn’t even have to sweat on them if they didn’t want to. Didn’t even have to leave the comfort of their own homes. And the real items, what was left of them, would be left to recover. Except that before you knew it there wasn’t anything left of them to recover.
First we got the Troubles, then sea levels surging higher, and then the PlagueBot, which spelled an end to most of the Troubles and just about everything else as well. But what the heck.
THE PLAGUEBOT: READ ALL ABOUT IT
If you want to know something about what followed the PlagueBot—though I don’t know why anybody would, darn it, not unless they thought it was possible for me to change the past by telling you about our future which, I’m sad to say, it isn’t—you can read Syn (awaiting publication). Find out in advance how the human race looked set to become extinct, with the machines taking over and everything. If all that’s true, of course, then how could I still be blathering away, here in the future, expecting anybody to read these chronicles? Well it’s been a near thing, I have to say, and the whole story has yet to be told.
One thing, nobody’s worried any more about who’s running the show in Egypt. There is no Egypt. In fact, countries in general are kind of passé.
So you should read Syn and the novels to follow in the series, not yet published. (In all modesty, I have to admit that these novels draw on privileged information.) According to Collin the first two in the series, with any luck, will be ready soon, though he doesn’t want me divulging the titles of the second novel or the series at this time.