‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’
This month: As Slow as Possible
We SF people like to think of ourselves as being capable of taking the long view. It is a routine matter for us to contemplate the state of things in the year 3914, or 39,914, or even, for those among us who have the true Stapledonian outlook about futurity, the year 3,914,914,914. (If you wonder what the phrase “Stapledonian outlook” means, check out Olaf Stapledon’s great novels Last and First Men and Starmaker, which I discussed here a couple of years ago. You have never read anything like them.)
Familiar as we are with the grand stretch of futurity, it should be easy enough for us to become willing participants in a musical concert that’s not expected to end until the year 2640. You will, I have to warn you, reconcile yourself to the fact that you have already missed almost a dozen years of the performance. It began on September 5, 2001. But since it will take 639 years to perform the whole piece, you still have time to catch quite a bit of the show, although I very much doubt that anybody will last long enough to hear the whole thing . . .
You can read the rest of the column here, and find Robert Silverberg’s eBooks here – including Reflections and Refractions, a collection of his non-fiction columns. Please note: each column will remain on the site for one month only.