‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’
This month: Life in the Future
I went to Europe recently, and as takeoff time approached I settled back in my seat and opened the hefty book I had chosen to read on the long flight—an old paperback edition of Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, which I had last read during my college days, nearly sixty years ago.
The flight attendant, checking to make sure I had fastened my seat belt, smiled and said, “Imagine that! You’re actually reading a real book instead of a Kindle.”
She was smiling. She was simply being playful, I think — my white beard instantly marks me as being a member of the pre-Kindle generation. But maybe she was genuinely surprised to see such an archaic artifact as a book in use in this twenty-first-century cabin. A glance around at my fellow passengers showed them to be staring into bright screens everywhere—Kindles, iPads, and other kinds of tablet-style gizmos. I was the only one who had an actual book in sight, a book which was, a matter of fact, fifteen or twenty years older than she was. I returned her pleasant smile and said something like, “Yes, a book. They’re a wonderful invention, books.”