Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Somewhere, I’m sure, the future is bright: big enough dreams

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I stumbled on something that looks like it’s been made for me, the other day.
It’s called Sapiens Plurum:

Sapiens Plurum (Latin for “wisdom of many”) was named to reflect humankind’s evolving connected intelligence. Our mission is to inspire us — the first species that can intentionally impact its own evolution — to aspire beyond what was humanly possible. The rising generation, the Sapiens Plurum generation, will have the power of gods of ancient myth: to heal, to transform, to battle and to better the future of humankind, to overcome problems that have plagued civilization for millennia: thirst, hunger, disease, pollution, brutality, tyranny and environmental degradation.

Now it’s easy to act cynical and blasé, but I think these are worthy aspirations.
So where do I start pushing to help get this thing on the road?

It turns out they are having a contest. A literary contest, called 2017 Earth-Day Short-Fiction Contest.

Sapiens Plurum is seeking writers who can plot amazing outcomes. Our Earth Day Short Fiction Contest this year challenges authors to dream big enough dreams. Tell us of a future: In your imagination, can we evolve humanity to a better place? Or will we, like Icarus, end up too close to the Sun?

The idea is to submit a short piece, 1500 to 3000 words, a positivist, optimistic story about how the future will be better in a big way.
That I can do. Or try to.
I love optimistic SF, and 3000 words, while hard (actually harder than 4500, so sue me) can still be done in two evenings.

But as I took a walk to get my brain working, I hit a brick wall.
The bright future awaiting us…
I am exiled in a small village in the middle of nowhere, suffering from the worst case of intellectual isolation in fifty years of my life. Really, guys, if you thought high school was hell, you should try the Montferrat countryside.
In this place there is no future.
There can’t be any future when the average age is over 70 and the main source of income is social security checks.
And so yes, I was having a walk along the river, listening to the chorus of birds as the sun set, and I chuckled – how the hell do I write about a bright, optimistic future, when I am stuck in this place?

And then I thought back at all the great authors that wrote wonderful stories while they were in jail, or in a hospital bed, or in a concentration camp.
Who the hell am I to complain?
As John Carter said, “still, I live!

In fact, is there a better place to imagine a bright future than this no-future sarcophagus of a ghost-town-to-be?
Johnny Tolkien talked about the sacred escape of the prisoner.
Escape, not escapism.
And I think I have a good idea for a very short story.
It starts with a girl sitting on the ground, in the lane leading to her parent’s garage.
She is working on a motorbike’s engine.
Now, dinner, then, I’ll jot down a few more ideas.
Wish me luck.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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