Once science fiction gets into the realms of humans living on several or many worlds we have the formation of those ‘World Governments’ or if we are imagining large numbers of settled worlds we imagine a governing system that encompasses groups of worlds, much like the USA and its states. However, I might argue that perhaps that is just a convenience for us writers. It makes life easier for us. We can have conflicts between entities much as we see them now, just projected onto a larger scale. Also when the aliens appear intent on our destruction we can react again as a single entity. I just wonder looking around the world at the present time, how likely that idea of a single world government is?
Living in the UK at the moment, part of the UK, Scotland, is going to vote on independence from the union. It seems that although countries are still keen to be part of the European Union, national independence is becoming increasingly important. Now I’m not taking sides here, I’m just fascinated by what drives this and what it says about us humans and what it means for the future of our civilisation. In my former working life I travelled the world and the more countries I visited the more I felt individual people were basically the same (or so it seemed to me). We have similar aspirations, to live a decent life, raise a family, see them happy and when we can have a good time ourselves. After all we are not here for long and we want to make the best of it (I accept that for billions on this planet just achieving that is a major struggle).
I believe that as individual Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish we have much more in common in our lives than we have differences. Our cultures are based on the same values and we live our lives in much the same way. I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate the differences that do exist and enjoy those differences in each other (as we do). I just wonder why the drive to split. Both sides in the argument are making claims as to whether things will be better or worse after the proposed split. I suspect for most people life will go on pretty much as before. Then there’s the history aspect which I always have trouble with. You can’t change the past but you can allow it to affect the future for good or bad as we constantly see around the world. Yes Scotland was a separate ‘nation’ for a few hundred years but if you go back a thousand years or so the ‘nation’ didn’t exist. ‘England’ didn’t exist either, there were the kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex, Northumbria, Kent, Sussex and Essex, the borders of which moved as they fought each other and the Danes.
So part of me wonders if whatever happens in Scotland (and other parts of the world where similar debates are happening) is really down to ‘the will of the people’ or the careers of the few people we elect to govern us (another blog/discussion perhaps). Anyway back to what this means for the future and science fiction. I suspect that when we do inhabit those hundreds of new worlds, the governance of those worlds will be as fragmented as we see now on Earth, perhaps more so, given that with so much more space to play with borders should be less of an issue. The challenge for us science fiction writers then is to make sense of that in our work.
As always, all views are welcome.