Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Call Me Mr. Positive" - by Tom Barlow

Oops, missed one. (Sorry, Tom. Blame it on the jetlag...)

The title started as a bit of irony, since I'm definitely a half-empty-glass type of person, a half-empty glass that I suspect one of my cats has been repeatedly dunking her paw into when I wasn't paying attention.

The story itself probably harkens back to my first viewing of "2001: A Space Odyssey." I was struck, in the first scene where one of the astronauts is running laps around the outside wall of the space ship, by the loneliness of their situation. Death is always nearby in space travel (except perhaps for Keir Dullea), but death is a short-lived inconvenience. Loneliness is an every-day, every-moment pain.

Humans are pack animals, after all, and when we lose our pack we lose the context in which we are defined. In addition, with FTL travel, relativity takes away from the travelers the loved ones they leave behind on Earth. Therefore, the traveler's adopted pack shrinks to those with whom he explores.

Take even that away, and he is left with only himself as company. For some of us, especially we half-glassers, that prospect is more terrifying that any mere vacuum.

No comments: