I just checked out Waren Ellis‘ Global Frequency comic. After reading 1&2 of the Transmet collections & reading some more about Ellis himself, I decided we share the view on SciFi & want to explore his works further.
In Global Frequency, he paints the terrifying picture I first perceived in reading a scifi novel back when I was 16. It talked about physically preparing an astronaut for long space travel by altering his body in extremely drastic ways. I didnt finish the book because I left it with a friend I was visiting & I doubt she still has it. (or even read it since it was quite the Hard scifi) Its a pity I didnt finish it and the idea of such drastic changes has been Haunting me ever since. Sadly, I dont remember the name of the book nor the writer; its honestly a loss I will have to seek to correct. It was of a kind of SciFi only written back in the Golden Age of SciFi. When the masters of the genre wrote their best works & honestly a genre of scifi I now count as lost. Asimov, Leguin, Van Vogt, Sturgeon, Clarke, Vance, .. Its a genre lost to the current generation. And I wont even judge the writing potential. Its a genre 80 years old, its outdated & I doubt anyone even reads this anymore. Its a loss. Back to the topic at hand..
This concept is expanded upon in the second edition of Global Frequency & the picture is every bit as grim & disturbing as I figured it to be back then. A cyborg driven to insanity & altered to such an extent that there is barely a way to terminate him or control him. Angst.
Ellis frequently asks the question, whats humanity & how much of it can be changed until the new construct stops to be Human. (Transhuman’s Foglets are one of the examples) And its more or less a question Ive been asking, although Im rather concerned about how much change is ethical. Lets not call it ethical, lets call it a broad “right”
Another great series that focuses on this question in part is the epic “Ghost in the Shell” and to a lesser extent the amazing Gunnm series.
Over time Ive come to realize that I am not ready for this concept. Growing up in an age where Body Modification has reached our western cultures and is only slowly coming to be accepted, made me the perfect example of the old man who wont trust / be able to accept these extreme physical modifications when our medical expertise reaches the point where they become feasible. (Currently from fake boobs to facelifts; from tats to piercings; from subincision to voluntary amputees.. Dont look this up if you re not sure you can handle the concepts) Although thanks to BMEzine, Ill probably accept them more easily than other people of my generation.
I do however not doubt that they are on the way and that youths will undergo procedures disgusting to me when I’ll have reached that old age (although who even knows if thats a given..)
Its why I care a lot about prosthetics, about chips in brains, about medical science and about overall body related technical advances.
Its the stepping stone and since I care a lot about everybody being free to do what he wants (with respect to others personal spaces) I wont do more than to fearfully watch & comment upon the whole.
But its coming.
And Warren Ellis paints an awesome picture of some of the possibilities & pitfalls our human race might be racing to face.