Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

Censors and Prognostication

Posted by hyperpat on August 2, 2006

I’m re-reading Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100, a collection of three of his stories that I haven’t looked at in about 15 years. What strikes me is that even though these stories were written in the forties, they are just as applicable to today’s world (if not more so) as they were to the world of the time they were written. The opening story “If This Goes On —” is actually frightening, depicting as it does the US as a theocracy, something that seems all too possible today with a significant minority of the US population being both highly religious and politically active. One point that is quite vivid from this story: he declares that all police states/dictatorships/absolute rule by a few can only survive if they control and censor the information available to their populace. China’s current attempts to control what appears on the internet come immediately to mind, but possibly scarier is our current executive branch trying to hide everything under the sun in the name of ‘national security’. The tree of liberty really does require constant vigilance, else it will be nibbled away by just such ‘insignificant’ or ‘necessary’ breaches of the people’s right to know.

This story was first published in 1939, and as such represents some of his earliest writing – which means it’s not as polished as some of his later works, and there are some definite attitudes displayed towards women that are certainly not PC in today’s world, but it still reads like it was just published, fresh, with a solid story line and a main character who is very real. I just wish I could write like that, and hope that his envisioned future never really comes to be. And it’s probably the weakest story of the three.


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