Saturday, June 14, 2008

Doktor Sleepless revisited

Doktor Sleepless is, as Warren Ellis the creator / writer of this series, has said the new Transmetropolitan, but I prefer to call it an extension of Transmetropolitan. Doktor Sleepless, the comic and central character, is best described as being our tour guide / examination of what happened to the future we were promised in science fiction books, movies, and tv. There's only one issue left in this first story arc (which will comprise eight issues) and I don't know if there'll be more Doktor Sleepless after this story concludes. However that scenario plays out, at least we'll have one complete Doktor Sleepless story to revisit (kind of like how we "only" got one great Desolation Jones from Warren Ellis and J.H Williams III).

What is the reason for the existence of art (be it books, comics, music, theater, etc.)? Well the first answer a lot of people would provide is that art exists to entertain us / provide an escape from our daily routines. The other big answer for what is the reason or goal of art (and the one that is foremost in my enjoyment of art) is that it will provoke in the reader a new way of thinking about themselves, others, and the world around us. Doktor Sleepless definitely meets both of these criterias and because it is so strong in the latter category, it stays with the reader long after the reading experience.

The newest issue of Doktor Sleepless continues with its questions about why we, here in 2008 have so many technological advancements and yet there are still people around the world dying of hunger, waterborne disease still exists in many countries, and entire species are going extinct. After reading the issue, I got back to thinking about a question that's been on my mind increasingly, and that is: why are we (the world) so dependant on oil (gas) as a means for fueling our cars (and airplanes) for over a hundred years now when so much advancement as occurred in computer technology in just the last twenty years (mostly in the last ten years)?

So I turned to Kate, my uber intelligent wife, and posed that question to her. Kate explained some of the different things that need to happen for different energy conversions scenarios (how batteries work, the difficulties that still exist with hydrogen fuel and ethanol use for fuel) and how there are better metals that exist that would bring down energy usage, but that they are presently harder to work with on an assembly line cost effective basis than steel. The way she explained these things to me made sense, but the cynical, conspiracy side of me stated that the world's dependancy on oil and reason for why scientists haven't come up with a better more widely used energy source is that too many people / countries holding the power reins have too much invested in the present model to want any change to happen. Kate agreed of course, but she's more optimistic that hybrid cars, for example, will become increasingly common in our future as people see that this technology is not just a flash in the pan and in turn should become more affordable as increased production volume brings down costs. That comforted my doom and gloom thoughts about the future of this oil obssessed world we live in somewhat, but I still am astounded that our main means of transportation hasn't changed in over a hundred years (as Doktor Sleepless asks "Where are our jetpacks we were promised?") and how much different the world would be if we didn't have to depend on a lot of our energy source coming from the Middle East.

1 comment:

kreeson1 said...

Trippy new design I like it!