[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
ROBERT J. SAWYER
Hugo and Nebula Winner


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RANDOM MUSINGS

Moving to Space

by Robert J. Sawyer

Copyright © 1991 and 1994 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.


As an SF writer, I often get asked if I'd like to move into space myself. And the answer, which seems to surprise people, is no, probably not. I'm sure space is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

See, I think this is a wonderful planet. I may be a hard-SF writer, but there's nothing I love more than lakes and trees and mountains and old archaeological sites and seeing a moose and hearing a loon and catching sight of a rainbow and smelling ozone before a storm and finding a fossil. Now, living in a tin can might be neat for a while, but I'd much rather be one small part of a diverse, teeming world, than shuck all that off for the sterility of a manufactured environment.

Someday, of course, this planet may be so wrecked up that going to space is the only option — but that's hardly a noble reason for going. In fact, my mother always taught me to clean up after myself, and I really think we've got no business going anywhere just yet.

And someday, maybe, humans will perhaps have the chance to see lakes of liquid nitrogen and trees that think and mountains of diamond and alien cities and majestic silicon-based creatures. Someday, maybe, we'll be able to hear the plaintive call of a two-headed flying creature and see a triple eclipse in a trinary star system and smell the first carbon dioxide given off by brand-new life and find the trace of something that came and went long before the Earth was born. But that's not going to happen in my lifetime, and for me, the only practical choice is this amazing world, a world that, even after a reasonable amount of traveling, I've still only seen the tiniest fraction. That vision of home beats living in a tin can any day.


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