Turning inner space into outer space

August 11, 2012

A look at the future of news from the past

Back in 1953, science fiction writer Philip K. Dick imagined a future — in a short story called Some Kinds of Life — where humans were constantly being sent off to wars on other planets so they could battle with the inhabitants for their resources.

One planet they went to was Neptune, where they died on the battlefield for iderium. What was iderium used for?

“All the newspaper machines require iderium,” Erickson explained. “Iderium lining makes it possible for them to detect events as they occur and flash them over the vidscreen. Without iderium we’d have to go back to reporting news and writing it up by hand. That would introduce the personal bias. Slanted news. The iderium news machines are impartial.”

Dick’s short-sighted characters believe the people of Earth can’t possibly do without this and other resources because it would mean going back to the way grandpa used to do things. It ultimately leads to their demise.