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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
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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