The Lego Machine Stops

Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk-that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh-a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs.

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5 Responses:

  1. James H. says:

    The thing that blows me away about this story is that it is from 1909! I think I'll go camping this weekend.

    • Nick Lamb says:

      This instinct has been with us for all of recorded history, and probably long before. It underpins major political parties in much of the world and has spawned periodically great "transcendent" movements which desire to visit upon us all the imagined benefits of their nostalgia.

      You can particularly tell it's from 1909 because of the airships. The more familiar aeroplane, just invented at the time, is mentioned briefly as an abandoned experiment, so dangerous compared with the airship. The Hindenburg disaster is still almost 30 years into the author's future, and Sterling Archer won't be able to roll his eyes at the ponderous journey times of an airship for more than a century.

      At least Vernor Vinge spotted that the the underlying cause of technological catastrophes is the people. Rainbows End would be unimaginably tedious if the eventual lesson was that we should cast off our technology and enjoy a nice picnic in the sunshine then get eaten by bears rather than the out of the frying pan into the fire ending he actually wrote.

  2. James B. says:

    Is it reaction or coincidence that you posted this just a few hours after Facebook announced Facebook Spaces: A New Way To Connect With Friends In VR?

    The similarities are quite striking.

  3. James says:

    "There will come a generation that had got beyond facts."