Friday, June 04, 2010
The Feeling of Power
One of the tests of good writing is this: It lives on. In the mind, in phrases, in behaviours. The better the writing, the greater its longevity. One of the fascinating things about literature is that there are innumerable ways for writing to be good: good style, good ideas, good timing, to name just three. Isaac Asimov, for instance, was a self-confessed style-o-phobe. Writing with style was not Asimov's thing. But writing with ideas was. Take the 1958 science fiction short story The Feeling of Power. It masterfully explores a deceptively simple idea: What will happen to man as he increasingly relies on computers to substitute or supplement his own mental powers?