Time Machines

It’s still not possible to go forward in time, except through science fiction. But it’s increasingly possible to go back.

Photographs and memories, as that Jim Croce song reminded us, recapture moments that would otherwise be lost in time. Film does it even better. The Internet combines all three into a primordial soup of memory – less than total recall, with the distortion even the best lens imposes, but still a remarkable way to recapture at least the shape and echo of things we thought lost forever.

Otaku News just republished an interview I did with them in 1999. The editor said, when he asked me if it was OK, that he thought much of the material was still relevant today. Reading it again, I was amused at some of my own pronouncements.

On the Internet: “…┬áit’s made everyone into an instant expert and enabled a lot of rubbish to be talked on many an otherwise interesting topic. I have been very disturbed by the way the immediacy and anonymity of the net encourage the proliferation of the most appalling bad manners and bad habits, and give the weight of spurious authority to people who know very little apart from how to put up a cool looking website.”

On Gundam: “When I first saw Z Gundam I was deeply impressed. I still love Gundam, though I find one or two of the more recent incarnations less attractive. The design is good, the characters are good, and I love the basic premise – there are no aliens or demons involved, all the evil and pain and conflict comes from mankind and we have to find our own solutions.”

And on writing a book about Osamu Tezuka: “The only Westerners who could really write a great book about Tezuka-sensei are Frederik L. Schodt and Fred Patten, who knew him personally. I’d love to see them tackle that project.”

That last sentence is still true. The past is memory, the future possibility.

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