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Mitch Wagner 8/6/2015 | 10:19:50 AM
Re: But when people did get it right, it instantly became invisible! I love that bit with the phone in the saddlebag. Readers in the 1950s would have been all OOOooooOOOOOOOoooooo FUTURE!!!1111!!!! Today we don't notice it.  

One thing Heinlein and other science fiction writers missed is how many of us don't like voice calls anymore. Science fiction writers assumed the progression would go from text (telegrams in the 19th Century) --> voice (their present) --> video (the future). Now we're here in that future, and instead, once texting and other forms of messaging became possible, many people just said OK I'll just do that and don't want to talk on voice on the phone anymore. 

IIRC, the call the hero receives is from his parents, which makes the scene more realistic for today. Kids prefer messaging -- parents are the ones who insist on talking on voice. 
John Barnes 8/6/2015 | 2:49:07 AM
But when people did get it right, it instantly became invisible! On the other hand, in Heinlein's Between Planets, written in the early 1950s, in the first scene the hero is out riding his pony at the fancy boarding school he goes to out west (and it's mentioned almost instantly that he's kind of an outcast kid, being a colonial from Venus).  He kills a rattlesnake with his laser pistol.  Then the phone in his saddlebag rings ...


And of course no modern reader finds that strange at all.


In my own Orbital Resonance, written in 1987-88 and published in 1991, you have a whole room full of kids in school on a giant space station, with laptop computers (not too surpisingly --I'd worked on one of the manuals for an early Toshiba laptop), being supervised by a teacher who is being slowly driven up the wall by illicit IMs or texting; the kids have a whole set of evasions so that they can keep chattering with each other while pretending to study.

About 25 years later I spent a semester teaching at a every-student-with-a-tablet school for gifted and talented.  You know, that stuff really does drive you crazy.  Got that much right.
DHagar 8/4/2015 | 10:51:27 PM
Re: SciFi Got Communications Future Wrong MitchWagner, thanks for the great tutorial on SciFi!  You are right, those scenarios were one dimensional.  I agree LR is more likely to get it right - it already seems more real. 

We will check back in 2030!
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