2010: Odyssey Two

Know what’s sad? A Google image search of “2010” and “Odyssey” results in scores of images of freakin’ Honda minivans.

Those of you in the know, however, will recognize the reference is to a classic novel by the late great Arthur C. Clarke, whose recent demise is still felt these many months later by a science fiction industry yet to find someone of his stature to fill the empty seat of Grandmaster. No, Bradbury doesn’t count.

The thing about the book, and subsequent movie, is, of course, is that the world of 2010 described bears little to no resemblance to our world today. For one thing, Clarke failed to anticipate the fall of the Soviet Union, and still couched his story within the confines of the Cold War, a conflict of which today’s young people have little concept. And Clarke’s depiction of thinking, feeling and creative artificial intelligences really has no place in a world in which my email filter tags emails from myself as spam. The lesson, of course, is that, as far as I know, no one has ever accurately predicted the future. How’s that for deep?

Regular readers of Deonandia know that the tradition here, going back to 2001, is that the first post of every year is when I list the things I was thankful for during the past year. Here are my comments from 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 (you’ll have to scroll to the bottom for those), 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. So, at the risk of being maudlin, let’s begin…

1. My family. You know the drill.

2. The University of Ottawa. I mock the U of Zero, but Zod knows how grateful I am to be a professor there. It really is the greatest job in the world, despite the mountains of work and frustration.

3. My students. See “frustration” above. They drain me and infuriate me at times, but for the most part their genuine desire to learn fills me with joy.

4. Facebook. Yeah, you read that right. I still have my various websites, endless email accounts, Twitter, text messaging, etc. But Facebook has provided a one stop shopping locale for accessing all of the above. It also provides a fake social life for those 3:AM late worknights.

5. Physiotherapy. Finally, after more than a year of agony due to herniated discs, I’m on the path to a life of manageable pain.

6. The women I’ve dated. Like other years, 2009 brought me more delightful women generous enough to spend their time with me. I believe I even managed to squeak out something resembling a relationship once or twice, but don’t ask me to confirm details.

7. The Interwebs. For rescuing me from commercial TV, an office, isolation and paper.

Is that enough? Can I go now?

In Other News

Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod…. there’s going to be a LIVE ACTION STAR BLAZERS MOVIE! (For you not in the know, the Japanese name is Space Battleship Yamato, one of the finest anime products of the 1970s!)

For comparison, here’s the opening to the original 1974 anime: