‘an age of uncertainty, complexity and paranoia’

Todays Quote of pure Win came from re-reading Charles Stross’s first published novel, the splendid occult-espionage-tech-support odyssey called “The Atrocity Archives“, today. Here’s the bit which stuck – taken from his afterword, ‘Inside the fear factory‘:

“We live in an age of uncertainty, complexity and paranoia.

Uncertainty because, in the last few centuries, there has simply been far too much knowledge out there for any one human being to get their brains around; we are all ignorant, if you dig far enough.

Complexity multiplies because our areas of ignorance and our blind spots intersect in unpredictable ways – the most benign projects have unforeseen side effects.

And paranoia is the emergent spawn of these side effects; the world is not as it seems, and indeed we may never be able to comprehend the-world-as-it-is, without the comforting filter lenses of our preconceptions and our mass media.

It is therefore both an attractive proposition (and a frightening one) to believe that someone, somewhere, knows the score.”

This sums up a good chunk of the core thinking behind my next long piece, “Voices of Authority”, so consider it an aperitif. (And a strong hint to read Charlie. He’s one of the best, smartest writers we’ve got these days in the SF/fantasy/horror field and deserves attention.) (And beer.)

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