The Battle Room
a Wired article on the simultators -virtual reality- the US Army is using to train its soldiers these days.
...In Orson Scott Card's novel, Ender, a young prodigy, is enlisted to play war games that turn out to be real. Recruits like Stehling have been training for Ender's mission all their lives. They pound on Halo in the garrison and launch strikes on Game Boys while riding in tanks. On their days off, they pile into the multiplex to see blockbusters crafted by the same technicians of verisimilitude who will now train them how to save their buddies' lives while blowing the enemy out of the zip code. At night the soldiers at Fort Sill head to the Dragon West, a bar outside the city limits where dancers in thongs whisper scripted endearments and tease them with glimpses of paradise. Many of them aren't old enough to order a beer, and they're nine weeks away from Baghdad.
Immersive scenarios, high-payoff targets, limited lethality, people simulators, networked fires. These young warriors will live, play, fight, and die in the Matrix.
leaving aside the question of using simulators to train kids to go to war -making it all seem like a giant video game-, whatever happened to science fiction? how come there aren't any more Ender's Game stories out there? perhaps i'm just missin' out -after all, i've spent most of the last three years doing nothing but reading books for class and books related to other books i've read for class. (reading Niall Ferguson's Colossus just because we read Empire for Mearsheimer, for example) any suggestions for modern science fiction that's really absorbing?
it's been a good run the last few days: philip pullman's His Dark Materials, The Edge of the Sword (i forget the author), Ender's Game. and The Wee Free Men waiting for me. (i've left it this long because it doesn't have my favourite -the Night Watch's Sam Vimes- in it; i suppose if i really like it i'll have to go hunt down A Hat Full Of Sky) any new suggestions to add to the list -particularly pullman-esque ones- will be received with eternal gratitude.