Shockwave Rider Essay Research Paper There are

Shockwave Rider Essay, Research Paper

There are numerous books on the science fiction

market, that deal with the myriad of possibilities

involving the technology of the future. John Brunner?s

book, ?Shockwave Rider,? is one of the most popular, as

well as one of the most famous, books dealing with this

issue. Brunner presents many different realities to the

reader, and they are all potentially very realistic in

terms of the current state of technology. For the most

part, Brunner seems to illustrate that technology, as it

relates to the world wide datanet, is a good thing. This

is not to say that he does not illustrate it as a very

negative reality in the world he presents to the reader,

but he does indicate that the world wide datanet and

technology has great potential to make the world a better

place for all concerned.

In Brunner?s book we have a reality that is

incredibly tense, and almost plausible today. The space

that the author deals with is filled with endless bits of

information (information overload to be more precise),

corporate domination, and it appears, just like many

science fiction books that deal with the planet earth in

the future, everything is known about everyone. there are

no secrets from the system. Brunner illustrates this as a

reality that is not necessarily very desirable. He plants

a character, Nickie Haflinger, onto the scene. As with

many books we can look at this character and see the

author within. Haflinger is a prodigy whose talents allow

him to switch identities with a simple phone call. By the

advanced technology and the ingenuity that is completely

Haflinger?s, we see that the author is not one to be

content with the realities that may be a possibility in

the future of technology.

Brunner clearly illustrates, by the previous

description of Haflinger, that technology and the advances

within that field, are incredibly beneficial, or they can

be. but he is clearly unhappy with the way things have

turned out due to the controlling nature of the

governments. This is further illustrated in the fact that

Brunner?s hero is a young man who is bent on changing the

world. He struggles to evade the officials and uses all

skills available to him, whether inherent skills or

technological ones, to the best of his ability, to put an

end to the misuse of power that is so much a part of his

world which involves the entity of the world wide datanet.

Perhaps, one of the most insightful parts of the book

comes in the first half, when Haflinger is experiencing

flashbacks due to interrogations. It is in these sections

that we see the inner mind of Brunner as he deflty

illustrates the world and mind of Haflinger. In this part

we see many different ethical arguments arise between

Haflinger and his interrogators. Not only does it seem as

though Brunner is telling a fascinating story, but that he

is attempting to enlighten people about the possibilities

that may arise due to the growth of technology. He is

clearly illustrating that this reality, although

fictional, may well be close at hand. Who knows, but we

may be able to access the Internet by telephone in just a

few years. There seems to be no stopping this type of

technology that is bent on bringing communication, and

control along with it, to a level where anyone and

everyone can become actively involved.

These interrogations approach many difficult and

intriguing questions. For example, if all the choices of a

race are known, where does the freedom lie? Or if those

choices, and their end result, can be easily assumed. If a

society is so intricately interconnected, almost to the

point where there is no individuality whatsoever, what

happens when one man or woman stands apart from the crowd?

We know full well how such individuals have been treated

in a society where we claim to embrace the unique and free

minded individual. But to envision such an individual in a

place and time when nearly everyone was essentially

identical, brings the reader to a position where the truth

of such a future is quite stifling and evident. Anyone

with any sense would not like to exist in such a world.

Brunner is clearly indicating that such a world wide

datanet would not be desirable at all. these are very real

possibilities and as any good science fiction writer

knows, the future is often illustrated as it might be, in

an attempt to help eliminate the possibility. The good

science fiction writer examines all of the possibilities

and often finds the most frightening reality to

illustrate. They do this in an attempt to help prevent the

reality from occurring. By illustrating what we could be,

Brunner is clearly illustrating his notion that such a

reality should not be hoped for, but avoided at all cost.

By making the reader aware of the possibilities, he is

possibly helping to eliminate one of many potential


In all seriousness, how could a writer truly

illustrate a world where the rich get richer and more

powerful, while the poor must struggle more and more for

mere existence? If such a writer were to truly desire such

a world they would certainly not employ a character such

as Haflinger. Haflinger has the power and the ability to

change things. He is in a unique position to alter the

future and save many people. If an author was interested

in promoting a world such as the one illustrated in

Brunner?s book, he would not have enrolled a man such as


Although Brunner is clearly against technology such

as the world wide datanet would produce, he is also

clearly not against technology. He uses Haflinger to

illustrate the good that technology has to offer. Here is

a character who is very much a part of the world of

technology. He is so much a part of it, that he has

mastered many different aspects about it and by doing so

he has enabled himself to change and alter in an attempt

to alter the future and the realities that face him. He

finds himself in a position that is very threatening to

the powers that be, and there is quite likely, no one like

him anywhere. He is very much alone in his struggle to

change the pattern of events. As mentioned previously,

often writers implement a character to be their own voice.

If Brunner were for all forms of technology, as the story

goes, he would not have implemented Haflinger, the hero

who sees beyond the obvious and sees the possibilities

that are within his grasp.

We live in a world that is vastly different than the

one our parents grew up in. We are actively involved with

technology every single day and it is almost to the point

where we, as human beings in this country, would not know

what to do without our cell phones, faxes, computers,

computerized cars, ATM machines, and even simple kitchen

gadgets such as a coffee maker. Our parents surely did not

have anything remotely similar to these items in their

youth. And in light of this, what makes us think that a

reality, such as the one portrayed by Brunner, could not

be a real possibility. We allow the government, for the

most part, to make a great deal of decisions that affect

us in many ways. We live in a world that has the ability

to clone a human being. And we live in a society that has

gone to great lengths to investigate the use of microchips

that can be placed under the skin to help locate human

beings. These are realities, and as any good science

fiction writer knows, it is important to understand and

know what is going on in his or her society and world in

general. these are real issues, and as such they further

illustrate that Brunner?s world is not too far fetched.

Even if we consider that the story Brunner presents

to us is real, and not of the future, we can clearly see

that Brunner is not completely happy with the turns that

technology has taken. He clearly sees technology as being

the savior of our race, if used properly, but he does not

endorse the kind of mentality that the powers in the book

display. He brings Haflinger in the story to illustrate to

us that technology can be our friend and does have the

potential to pull us out of some very serious problems,

but he also illustrates that the chances we do this are

very slim, indeed. It is much more likely that we will

allow our government to take over and control every aspect

of our lives and our thoughts. Brunner clearly does not

stand for the world he has created, but he does stand for

the world that could be.


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