There have been two articles about plants. Scientists have been able to produce electric circuits in roses. Yes roses! The first step to cyborg plants!
Whilst the experiment in itself is of little value, what it could lead onto could be of significant value. For instance a plant could be used to monitor environmental conditions in a greenhouse. If it is linked to the heating or lighting circuits we could engineer how to keep those conditions at optimum for the plants. It would mean less waste.
We’ve been aware for quite a few years now about the wood wide web – yes I did write WOOD WIDE WEB. It’s the association between trees and fungi in the wood. It not acts as a warning network of danger, but also as a transport system of resources. The article can be found here.
Add to this the previously reported discovery that plants have a quantum mechanics network, we can start to see that there is a very complex communication and logic laws acting in Earth’s plant-life. It begs many questions like:
- Are all plants in communication with their neighbours?
- What kind of intelligence do they have? [There are different systems of logic laws and whilst we humans tend to follow one, the plants may for good reason follow another – we just don’t know the answer to this.]
- Do plants have a kind of hive intelligence? [In which case the research into swarm mechanisms, e.g. how birds fly in a flock, becomes even more important.]
- Is the idea of Gaia really the wood wide web?
All these ideas could be placed in science fiction stories. But experience suggests that if you write about these ideas, people (editors and readers) find them so strange that they cannot come to terms with them. They are well and truly thrown out of their comfort zone, and seem to automatically refuse to even look at this section of science fiction.
This worries me. There is, as you’ve seen from previous posts, a whole wave of science rolling into our lives. How we live twenty, ten years from now will be very different from today. And yet, as far as I can see, only the big corporations are peddling anthologies about how they see their products are developing. It’s a kind of futuristic advertising.
We need the independent science fiction writers to show a more balanced futuristic picture.
There are reasons why this is not happening at the moment. These include risk adverse publishers, fantasy being more popular because it offers escapism from the realities of today, and the scientists and engineers amongst us writers earn more in our day jobs as well as there being a skills shortage, so we’re rarely out of job.
A further complication is that science fiction is the natural home of sections of the community that feel, for whatever reason, shunned by the rest of society. They want their voice to be heard. I have sympathy for many cases, but the consequence is that the futuristic science fiction writing gets swamped out of existence.
It is in these kinds of situations that government funding for the arts is useful, but under the current economic climate this does not happen. Nor can I see it happening in the future wither because of the many up and coming demands on government finances.
So we are left with the
- big mega companies pushing out science anthologies biased towards their products and ensuring their own future
- few brave scientists and engineers who write science fiction, but in order to get their work published they have to tune out the unusual.
Is this where we really want to be as a society?