During the early part of summer 2010, I stumbled across an announcement for a Science Fiction Convention at a local hotel. Although I'm a life long reader of Sci-Fi and full-fledged geek (yes, I even used to work at Forbidden Planet, NYC's largest comic book and sci-fi store), I rarely venture out to “Cons” these days. Something on the schedule caught my eye, though. Special guest author, Canadian Karl Schroeder was slotted to do a panel on “The Politics of Climate Change”. This should be interesting, I thought- Can a room full of people dressed as Klingons, pie-eyed gamers and Aspersers sufferers have a coherent conversation about the ultimate reality?
Although the turnout for the session was small, it was perhaps the most thoughtful discussions I have ever heard among lay-people. The group included one hard-core denier, but even he had relevant points, and minds were open on both sides of the argument.
As for Schoeder, he lead the discussion with the deft hand of someone who understood his audience and a Canadian's perspective on what is possible when a nation is not ruled by a coporatocracy.
Having watched a Youtube video of Schoeder at OSCON (the O'Reilly Media shindig) talking about his ideas of “re-wilding” I was anxious to sit down with the author and talk about his ideas. Karl was kind enough to oblige. Upon describing the theme of “Obsolete Magazine, we immediately dove into a discussion of “Detournement” the situationist idea of reuse of elements and William Gibson's early cyberpunk novels like Count Zero and Neuromancer, in which Schoeder points out that “... the characters are constantly cobbling things together out of stuff the street has abandoned- there is a tradition of that in science fiction going back at least that far and before...”