Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sci-Fi Inspires Engineers

NPR broadcast a story earlier today by correspondent Laura Sydell on how Sci-Fi Inspires Engineers To Build Our Future. It's the usual treatment that documents how the genre inspired various scientists and techies to pursue their careers. Despite the use of the gauche term "Sci-Fi" (or "skiffy")  in the title, the segment is noteworthy in that it embraces the genre as a whole, rather than making the mistake of focusing on a single franchise like Star Wars or Star Trek and giving it credit for ideas that were already common in the genre.

Even more impressively, she interviews a couple of bona fide sf authors, Neal Stephenson and Connie Willis. It's great hearing people with their credibility being interviewed for a story on the subject, rather than the usual Hollywood hack that the media often turns to on these occasions. So given all of that I'm willing to overlook the fact that she says "William Gibson dreamed up the Internet" even though it was Murray Leinster who first anticipated it back in 1946 when he wrote "A Logic Named Joe."

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