Sometimes I feel like an alien by Mannah Pierce
There is this fast moving, transient, internet-based world that I do not understand and where I do not belong: Twitter; Facebook; blogs; forums; apps. Even that short list labels me as out-of-date and left-behind. I made it to email and websites but there I stopped. Despite sporadic efforts, that is where I remain.
I used to sit at the side of the internet highway and watch the traffic flash by. There had to be a way of getting up to speed. In Robert A. Heinlein’s ‘The Roads Must Roll’ (1940) there is a mass transit system of huge conveyor belts, called ‘roadtowns’, each of which moves at a steady speed. To make it onto the 100 miles per hour road, travellers would jump repeatedly from a slightly slower road to a slightly faster one. I looked for a series of stepping-stones, my journey from one road to the next; bent on joining those travelling quickest.
Now I have accepted that I will never make it. I no longer even know the destination; by the time I have identified a waypoint those ahead of me have moved on.
Does it matter? Perhaps not.
‘The Roads must Roll’ was written in 1940. I read it in the early 1970s and the thirty-year gap did not stop me finding it fascinating. As a child I was entranced by ‘The Princess and the Goblin’, a fairy tale written in 1872 by a Christian minister living in Scotland by the name of George MacDonald. My favourite author is Cordwainer Smith who wrote amazing science fiction stories set in his ‘Instrumentality’ universe. Cordwainer Smith was the pen name of Paul Linebarger, a scholar specialising in East Asia and psychological warfare who died when I was six. The gulf between the life experience of Paul Linebarger and that of a girl growing up in seaside village in England did not stop his stories speaking to me.
I do not live in your world. Even so, I hope that my stories speak to you.
I am Mannah Pierce. My stories are set in ‘Known Space’, a world of the far future where Earth is merely a myth and spacers roam between the stars. Find your way to my stories via www.mannahpierce.com.