Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The shape of things to come

Terry Odell's post on green tech ( had me thinking about the technology of tomorrow, specifically tech like "electronic paper," tech as thin as paper and reads like it but something that changes -- imagine a newspaper that holds the information of the Sunday New York Times but is one sheet thick. You turn to the page to whatever you want to read, to the size you want it to be. It's an amazing concept, but when you consider there's a light source just as thin and easy to manipulate, right now (but not marketable due to cost), you know it can't be too far away. The Star Trek (original series) inspired us to expect something the size of a paperback book to read from and write on, and we have something a lot like those now. If that's the future realized, what's the real future going to hold? I'm not sure we can fathom it.

It's not just the far-flung future, either, that this is the case. I remember reading recently that the spy gadgets we were amused by on the TV series GET SMART were the source of inspiration for the real-life CIA. The CIA scientists would see something on the show and try to figure out how they could make a variation for their own uses. (But no cone of silence, as far as I know. After all, on GET SMART, they never could get the cone to work!)

The book I have coming out in July, ECHOES OF PASSION, has a control device that's smaller than a paperback but a little thicker than a sheet of paper, easy to pocket and easy to overlook. It's a coin, basically; distinctively shaped and integral to the plot. Because The Hub works at a mint (where they design coins), I got a chance to see how intricate coins could be, and that was my inspiration. 

But once I thought about it, it's not new at all. I have something about that size, something distinctive, a control device. You probably do too. Got a garage-door opener?

Eilis Flynn,
83 days to ECHOES OF PASSION! On sale at Cerridwen Press at 7.02.09

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