Recently in Problem Page Category
May 19, 2009
Dear Dr. BDO,
I’m trying to write optimistic Science Fiction and I keep getting bogged down in pessimistic apocalyptic visions. What can I do?
Please help me, you’re my only hope.
Pessimistic in Peterborough
I’ve been away for a while, on transit to Jupiter, but taking this scheduled stop-over at Mars to answer a few questions.
Pessimistic, do not despair. Keep writing, keep imagining. Take every obstacle and imagine how it can be overcome. Sometimes it’s a small and obvious leap, a technological advance that inches us forward, or a mindset shift that allows the previously unimaginable. Small things can add up. Take a problem, solve it. Move on. Then tell us about it, write us a story, make us feel happy and joyous and looking forward to the future. If you hit a problem to intractable then swerve around it, perhaps other foundations might need to shift until that one can be cracked.
And never give up.
You can help us imagine our future.
February 10, 2009
Dr. BDO is absent from Big Dumb Object this week. He was last seen jumping on cruise ship heading to the Caribbean, presumably to watch some cricket.
We shall try and entice him back into the fold with some juicy problems next week.
January 27, 2009
Dear Dr. BDO,
I'm getting slightly fed up with the temperate climate in which I live: rain, snow, drizzle, occaisional sunshine. Maybe I should move to somewhere else, but for various geopolitical reasons none of the alternatives appeal to me. Do you have any suggestions?
Wet In Winchester.
Ahh the weather. In the future we shall not fear the weather! In fact if you have enough money you needn't fear the weather now. Perhaps you could seed the clouds to ensure that rain falls on specific times of the month, although this method is not the most reliable, especially with a huge gulf stream throwing moisture towards you at 200mph. You could perhaps use plenty of fossil fuels and generate as much CO2 as possible, in an attempt to "change the climate", because let's face it any change will probably be better. (Just make sure you live on a hill).
Personally though I have a couple of favourites: firstly go an live in an "orbital" where the climate is man made as is the "world". The Culture have plenty of these knocking around the galaxy, all you have to do is find them.
Secondly, you could live in a dome. This is the approach that Dr. BDO has taken. Geodesic domes are so cool that they will never go out of style, find a plot of land and dome it. Or you could move into The Eden Project perhaps. Or Center Parcs. Either way the climate will be in your control. Good luck!
January 20, 2009
All of my favourite Science Fiction television programmes are on Satellite but in these tough economic times I can't afford to pay every month for Sky. What can I do?
Cash-Strapped in Cardiff
Don't despair! First of all, not all great SF is on Sky in the UK. If you have a Freeview box you can watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Virgin1. Then there's Doctor Who on BBC of course. ITV4 showed Jericho. ITV1 had Primeval. BBC1 had Survivors. And so on. In fact Sky only has exclusive rights to a few shows, notably Lost and Battlestar Galactica. If you really want to see these shows you have a few choices: firstly wait until they come out on DVD or BluRay and watch them in a mammoth session, secondly point your very large homemade foil satellite dish into the American ether, thirdly ask a friendly American to tape it for you on VCR and post it to the UK, fourthly watch it online by circumventing any IP restriction using a collection of friendly proxies... or, you could turn off the television set and go and do something else. Like read a book. There's plenty of non-region locked science fiction novels out there.