The 'Great Silence': the Controversy Concerning Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life

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David Brin is one of the most popular sci-fi authors in the United States, currently part of the branch of hard fiction, ie the science fiction the most scientifically rigorous and demanding, and sometimes, it must be said, the most boring - but that's a matter of taste. The best known of his works are the Uplift Series. In this universe, many alien races organize a colonial system in which the races are scientifically more developed and encouraged in their development. Some perverse races take that as an opportunity to work on the genetic heritage of their protected races to make them zealous servants. Humans are considered smart monkeys abandoned by their boss. They themselves have taken under their wing dolphins and monkeys. This series with a dozen volumes won a Hugo Award to the author for 'StarTide Rising' and 'The Uplift War'. David Brin is part of what American critics have nicknamed 'The Killer B's', three authors which are David Brin, Greg Bear and Gregory Benford. These three bestselling sci-fi authors all share advanced scientific training as well as a very classical style. The Killer B's, were chosen by the owners of Isaac Asimov's copyright to write a post-mortem of the 'Foundation' series initiated by the master. Brin also wrote a novel, 'The Postman', Locus Award 1986, which was transposed to the movies a few years later with Kevin Costner in the title role. David Brin, who is an highly educated scientist, and has been a consultant for NASA, also teaching physics at the University of San Diego. He lives in Encinitas, in southern California with his wife and three children. Here is an extract of a recent interview:

"A firm known as California Technology Enterprise Corporation is marketing an innovative gizmo -- a spinoff of high tech defense hardware -- which they call "Beeper Kid," to help keep track of your toddler at the shopping mall or county fair. It lets out a little shriek whenever your 3 year-old strays more than 10 feet away from the home unit, strapped on your wrist. Next, of course, will come a little direction finder, to show in which direction the kid has dashed off so recklessly. Great for tracking that wandering child, or finding those missing car keys... or for planting under your husband's car, to find out where he really spends Tuesday evenings, when he's supposed to be playing poker with the boys. " As a matter of fact David is an avid player who used a titan poker bonus code before online poker was banned from the USA. But in this interview done a few years ago the main point is that we may all be losing our privacy, and this is something that is now getting more and more obvious. He takes the unusual position of saying that there is a dichotomy where we will be forced to choose between freedom and privacy, and that there is no doubt that freedom should be chosen as privacy is just a 'myth'.


Essay © 1982 David Brin. All rights reserved.