Friday, September 7, 2007

898 The Value of Speculative Fiction

Message no. 898[Branch from no. 847] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Monday, April 30, 2007 1:38pm Subject: Re: Pat Friedrichs Relational summary

Nice blend of personal and planetary perspectives Pat. My wife and I are also "downgading" our living space -- moving next month from a spacious three bedroom apartment in the expatriot suburb of Maadi into a refurbished tiny two bedroom apartment in the slum area of Darb El Ahmar where our work is. Since the rent is 7 times lower than what we pay here we think it is worth it, even though it means "going native" and leaving the relatively uncrowded streets of the foreigners area to cope with the stresses of dense Egyptian life. The advantage is that we won't have to ride on the crowded metro or in traffic to get to work -- that means much less stress. And the beautiful Al-Azhar park is 5 minutes away -- the first park built in Cairo in a hundred years. We decided that the illusion of living a good life in the foreign community is shattered by the high prices and the loss in time and comfort getting in and out of the inner city. Also, since two buildings are being built next to ours, there is constant construction noise and noise from delivery trucks at 2 am that wake us up.

At some point you have to think, "Am I really getting what I pay for, or am I just getting the illusion?" While very few foreigners move into the Egyptian slum areas, we are fortunate to find a place that we can afford that will probably give us a higher quality life than in the so called ritzy areas. No doubt in a few years others will discover these little pockets and the prices will go up -- this always happens. But for now we think we are making the right decision, even though it cost us 1,350 dollars to have the interior of the little apartment refurbished.

As for travelling to other planets, I am reading two collections of short stories that I highly highly recommend to all of you:

The first is Beyond Flesh, which speaks to your reflections on crowding in cyberspace,

and the second is "The River of Time" by David Brin

Sometimes the best way to approach an issue, such as personal space and territoriality, is to test your theories by taking them to their logical conclusion. This is the value of speculative fiction!

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