As the first to receive the library system’s first copy of Arkady Martine’s _A Desolation Called Peace_ (2021) 📚, I am duty-bound to read and return it quickly, so that others may also have the pleasure. Such burdens sometimes fall to those of us most able to bear them.
I love the speculation that is the core of science fiction and fantasy: what if? What if this instead of that? What if Frankenstein’s monster just wanted to be left alone? He didn’t ask to be made. What if “Second Life” and Terminators and Berserkers did not engage in an existential war of extinction? What if the Borg found a way to co-exist rather than assimilating everything? What if Ender Xenocide weren’t asked to destroy a species?
What terrifies me is not speculation, it is—and this has nothing to do with Arkady Martine’s book—how some people find elements of these speculations so attractive that they lust for them. They would create WOPR, Skynet, the Borg, not as foils for our hero but as desirable ends themselves. They play Faust or Frankenstein or Doctor Moreau. They seek to remake the world in their image, and instead of adding possibility destroy it.