Autor Wątek: Translating LEM into our new times  (Przeczytany 20963 razy)


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Translating LEM into our new times
« dnia: Marca 09, 2013, 08:07:04 am »
Dear all,

I propose a LEM translation project.

On re-reading Fiasco, I was struck by the need to translate LEM into our new technological era.
Young people just will not understand why no one swipes an iphone or looks up their social network status.

Of course, LEM foresaw many of these changes.
But not quite in the way they turned out.

Below is a list of similar technological "translations" I would make.
It would be exciting to "translate" a story, deleting the old tech that he refers to, and inserting this new tech.
I can imagine doing this together with other people who love LEM.

It would be a fanboy tribute to LEM, of course. Might bring him new readers!
We might need the "blessing" of his estate or publisher. Who should I ask?

= = = =

A list of technological changes we should "re-write"

Desktop consoles and clunky computers >> tablets, smartphones, touchscreens
phones on wires >> tiny, wireless communication devices
memorials, plaques, tomes >> online electronic memorials
newspapers, announcements >> micro-news feeds, twitter
pencil, notepad, stylus >> evernote, synched, picture/audio note-taking, searchable
large thick reference book > searchable, thin ipad-like reading experience
dedicated camera, scanner >> all-in-one, always with you, device with apps
note taking, photorphaing >> all in one experience capture, tap and capture
squawking intercoms >> rich, subwoofer, gorgeous full-spectrum sound
paper, scissors, glue >> one click pin and share
piles of books >> flipboard, lists of electronic books in a Kindle
music rare, must be turned on >> music playing everywhere, peer to peer
nuclear piles >> hybrid engines with nuclear, plasma, hydrogen and magentic, switching as needed
tape recorder >> ubiquitous life recorders, soundclouds
physical store >> online store, digital delivery
reality >> game-ality, gamification
rocket ship dashboard passively waiting >> gamified touch-screen arcade, encourages involvement, rich media
movies by professionals >> prosumer, movies by people, made on the spot
maps, charts >> waze, gps, touch screen
privacy >> social networks
dedicated tools >> corwdsourcing and sharing of tools
dedicated engines diesel, hydraulics, rumbling >> hybrid shifting from diesel to electric, to magnetic
heavy made machinery >> 3d printed stuff, very fine
user interface set long ago >> changing user interfaces based on ongoing learning
big, clunky, odd looking machines >> smooth, small, elegant fixtures
leaking oil >> self cleaning nano stuff
mass produced goods >> single-produced by 3d printing
meetings, conferences >> remote telepresence, webex whiteboards
buttons, levers, affordances >> gesture in front of camera (Knect)
boss, manager, commander >> social network voted respect, command, presence


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Re: Translating LEM into our new times
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Marca 11, 2013, 01:31:33 pm »
I am skeptical about such project. First, you listed some specific technologies/brands like twitter or kinect, which would seem like a crypto-advertising. Then you introduce some things that would only be open loops eg. how does self-cleaning nano stuff works? If you do not explain it, that's bad (it changes the reception of the book) and if yes, then this project becomes more like rewriting the book than retranslating (it's bad again). Some of your proposed changes would also kill the mood - in Lem's works there is no music surrounding you everywhere and not because it did not came to Lem's mind - it is because it would not fit in the general view! Not to mention that GPS or online storage in space/other planet would be non-sense. The last thing is that as far as I can tell from Lem's interviews, etc. he would very strongly disapprove of such translation.

Remember that Lem discouraged science fiction. His books are not in general about everyday lives of people in the future and their technology - they are about some concepts, ideas, scenarios, etc.


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Re: Translating LEM into our new times
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Marca 12, 2013, 11:58:33 am »
Translating is somewhat nice ideas but the scope the project is not easy. It needs passion to do that.


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Re: Translating LEM into our new times
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Kwietnia 06, 2013, 12:32:20 pm »
freddieclearance, I'm sceptical too.
Classic SF  - even if technocentric (expl. Clarke) or full of tricky gadgets (expl. Dick) is about ideas, as tzok says, and have elegant simplicity, and Lem is the best author of this genre, who goes beyond SF cliches and standards.
Modern SF, even if clever, is about gadgets (even if sometimes pretend ideas-centric structure), this making works of Watts, Egan, Reynolds etc. far less mature, and far more technofethishistic. I don't want to see Lem's work prepared ad usum delphini. But... if you think, that you can implant new technology to Lem's wrriting painless - way to go!
That's can be an interesting curiosity...
"Wśród wydarzeń wszechświata nie ma ważnych i nieważnych, tylko my różnie je postrzegamy. Podział na ważne i nieważne odbywa się w naszych umysłach" - Marek Baraniecki

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Re: Translating LEM into our new times
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Maja 23, 2014, 02:04:40 am »
What comes to my mind in this regard is Chapter 1 of Fiasco.

The Pilot stands in the Grail Station, and the part that deals with the mechanics of the interior is just as readable today as it was when it was published 1987.

"...the tape record ended. It fluttered on the reel."

Sure, noone uses tape recorders anymore, but its still more readable than "twitter beackup restored its synching function with tits floating cloud".

All those euphemisms (cloud - centralized server storage), (server- big fast central computer), etc. are not succesfully concealing the fact that technologic innovation is cranking and the rate of progress is more a source of concern, given the amount of resources thats pumped into upholding that bubble.

So where the phrase like"
He took a crystal and inserted it into the machine.
The blue indicator light went on. Again they heard the monotonous voice of DEUS"
could be 'updated' I do not know.

But it certainly is a sign of the Zeitgeist (not the movie, the actual meaning of the word) when the most recent posts in this forum are looked at.

I would like to know, all those technologies are so temporary (I'm using their names now to exemplify).
studiVZ (German Facebook-Clone, in 2007 or so biggest membership base, now defunct)
MySpace (once thriving with blog and other functions - now gone into hybernation for musicians presentation)
twitter (weird thing, simply weird. The more I look at it, the more I wonder how one finds the time to read more than one link posted by someone else)
Facebook (DEFINITELY shows signs of internal decay. As I log in rather rarely, i see that EVERY time they change the Graphical User Interface. Recent 'improvement' is some kind of real time ticker for social interactions. As if those were some kind of commodity to be traded. - the air is out of that, most people comment on their close relatives family pictures, after too many 'how many like' campaigns have strained their well meaning too much).

This is not meant as a criticism on modern technologic innovations in the area of software and user experience, which would be shallow in its own wake. It is merely to exemplify that those things change. And in literature, as Lem has written it, the simplistic ways he describes the machines are working much better, because they are timeless in a way.
I wouldnt stretch it that far to say that in a few hundred years (given there are still people reading then) his descriptions of space stations and ships would not sound horribly anachronistic. But maybe that retains more substance than throwing all meaning away to get swept away with the tide of contemporary kinkerlitzchen.