I just finished reading Sterlings’s new essay/non-fiction short story/pamphlet “The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things” a second time just to make sure I’d properly absorbed it. There’s a lot of content for such a short piece and strongly recommend it to anyone interested in a peek at what is in store for us over the next five years or so*.
Bruce Sterling has always had his finger on the pulse of the near-future, so much so that his fiction has proven weirdly prescient (“Maneki Neko“, I’m looking at you). He’s a gifted writer, but “ESoIoT” is a strangely bloodless read in part because his take on what’s coming next is plausible-to-the-point-of-being-inevitable and not especially optimistic. What we’re being sold is not what we’re going to get, but that won’t stop us from buying it. Whereas some writers might have waxed poetic about what the future ought to be, Sterling simply explains what it will be, why it will be that way, why we’ll go along with, and ultimately why it won’t really matter if we try to avoid it. That’s not a lot of fun, but man, is it ever informative.
I could go on and on (and would if it weren’t such a lovely evening), but honestly, reading the original is well worth a few bucks and half an hour of your time. This is the work of a master wholly in his element and whatever I say, he’ll say more clearly and with far fewer grammatical errors.
Ironically (trust me), “The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things” is available on Amazon and iTunes.
* Those of you (which is to say, “us”) who live in a world of analogy would do just as well to just pick up Grant Morrison’s “The Filth” or watch “The Prisoner” again. I love that this would constitute a “spoiler” for readers of a certain mindset.