where in the future are we?
So, we've got longevity/immortality.
And some sort of serious human interface to the net (assuming that "HUD" isn't built into glasses).
We have some amount of off-world travel.
Physical space (on Earth) is increasingly crowded.
But starvation doesn't seem to be an issue. (At least not for someone who's living with space shortages.) (Unless it's so natural to the narrator that he doesn't bother mentioning it.)
I'd say, 75 to 100 years in the future. Possibly as little as 25, though, considering the exponential acceleration of technology. I have no evidence to support this, just an educated wild-ass guess.
Jun 16, 2008 3:46 pm
I personally always took it to be much further into the future than that. People have been alive long enough to take multiple degrees and create numerous works of art. I took that to mean that people had been alive several hundreds of years.
Jun 17, 2008 8:27 am
Ah, yeah, you're right, there are details that I missed. A hundred years after "Free Energy"...I'm guessing at least 150 years, then. I wouldn't say *several* hundred years, though, people are still mostly recognizable as such, even if they're eternally young and stimulated.
Jun 18, 2008 10:41 am
Ah-HA: "they'd spent a week tearing down a show that had run for more than a century," talking about the Hall of Presidents, which, according to Wikipedia, started up in 1971. So that puts us at the turn of the 21st century into the 22nd. (Much farther, and it should have been "150 years." Or "a century and a half.") Which means that Doctorow is envisioning Free Energy as being right around the corner, or already happened. Also, our protagonist was probably born right around the same time as the author, which makes one wonder how much of himself he's putting into this story.
Jul 8, 2008 10:25 am
Nice catch on the date reference there!
As to how much of the author placed himself in the story I know Doctorow is an unabashed Haunted Mansion fan so it certainly would not surprise me if he imagined himself as the protagonist.
Jul 8, 2008 10:35 am
Also note in installment 18:
The wonderful compromises of technology and expense that had given us the Disney rides -- rides that had entertained the world for two centuries and more -- could never compete head to head with what they were working on.
Jul 11, 2008 11:19 am
I noted that too, Sarolite, and it confused me. Disney's entertained the world since the 1920s, Disneyland opened in 1955...so I'm not sure anymore.
And it surprises me that Doctorow would do the author-as-protagonist, I'm sure he's familiar with the wish-fulfillment aspect of the Mary Sue, and would seek to avoid it. But hey, if it worked for Kinky Friedman...
Jul 14, 2008 10:35 am