Aphelion Editorial 062
The Poetry Editor stands in for the Senior Editor
by Iain Muir
* Muir pulls out his soapbox and coughs
Good evening and welcome to this issue of Aphelion. I have
to write this issue's Editorial, as Our Glorious Leader, Dan
Hollifield, is still suffering from a bad case of the "dead computer
syndrome." We, the editorial mafia, have striven to put together the
issue in his absence, but I don't think any of us actually realised how
much * work * Dan puts in on a monthly basis to pull all of this
insanity together. Days slipped away from us, and eventually it seemed
more meet to put out a combined August / September issue, with added
content, than to rush an August issue out and delay September, thereby
frustrating the authors who were slated for September publication.
(Trust us: it's all about service to the community, not about buying
ourselves more time!)
On to the actual editorial comment. As you read these words,
approaching the anniversary of the single largest act of terrorism in
history: the destruction of the World Trade Centre. At the time, I
recall feelings of shock, of horror, and a sense that the world had
changed, that from this day forward, things would never be the same
again. A year on, I look around and ask myself: has the world changed?
I look around me, living as I do on the far side of the planet
Ground Zero, and I see that for the majority of people, life has not
changed. We still go to work, worry about our children, plan for our
futures. There was a brief spurt of security consciousness, which has
dulled with the lack of any further attacks. Airlines have instituted
some new security rules, which are of maximum inconvenience to the
passenger, but are agreed by most security experts to be of minimal
effectiveness in stopping another such attack. A government has been
overthrown in a foreign country, but it appears that the man
responsible for planning the attack on the WTC is still at large, and
the world is no safer a place to live in than it was a year ago.
Aphelion deals in Fantasy and Science Fiction, in tales of
what may be,
what might have been, and what should never be. Niven and Pournelle
called sci-fi authors "the dreaming fithp," those whose duty it is to
ponder the imponderable, to conceive of the inconceivable. None of us
foresaw the events of September 11, 2001. None of us, as far as I know,
has predicted the aftermath of those events. Reality, it would appear,
is not only stranger than we know, but also stranger than we can
conceive. Whatever your conception of tomorrow may be, it is wrong. I
find that a comforting thought. When I look at the bleak futures some
predict, where freedom has been curtailed in the name of security, I
take comfort that this is a possibility, not a certainty. I take
comfort that there is an equal possibility that the future may be as
bright and utopian as conceived by other writers.
In the shadow of tragedy and despair, take hope from the
strength portrayed that grim day a year ago. We cannot know what
tomorrow will bring. We can only do our best to make today the best we
can, and hope that tomorrow we can improve on it. Speculative fiction
can show us the way: the possibilities for a brighter future, and the
pitfalls we should avoid.
Dream on, my brethren!
© 2002 Iain Muir
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