Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Steppe by Piers Anthony

While it doesn't seem that long ago, 2009, Steppe by Piers Anthony, was brought back to print by #Paizo Publishing, the makers of the Pathfinder role playing game.

It fell under their Planet Stories. This line didn't do well despite it bringing some of the classics of the science-fiction/fantasy line back into print. Paizo didn't quickly give up mind you though as they tried different formats to save it but eventually give it up.

Mind you in the modern era, they might have been able to do more with it as they didn't have rights for the e-books when they were publishing these novels.

I haven't read all of them. I have read many of them though. I don't consider it my 'duty' or anything of that nature to read 'classic' or older science fiction or fantasy books, but I do try to stretch my wings and read a variety of authors and pieces when possible. It helps provide a grounding effect for books I'm reading now, or even how far society and technology has come.

Many people are probably familiar with South Park. Last year, 2014, they did an episode about Youtube Stars.

In Steppe, which looks to have been first published in 1976, Alp, the main character of the book, is an early example of a star made by passive viewers.

You see Alp was taken from his time, hundreds of years ago, into the future, so that his knowledge of that time may be useful to those playing a game that to modern readers would seem to combine elements of the Matrix, in that it's not real, but also elements of MMO's in that the characters are in different times and eras.

And it was in 1976.

So through passive viewing, Alp at the end of his adventurers, becomes an 'internet' celebrity years before such a thing could even be possible.

I know people point to shows like Star Trek and other popular science fiction bits and look around at our current technology and go, "Ah Ha!" but don't underestimate the unexpected places you may find those predictions of the future coming true.

Piers Anthony hits it out of the ball park in quite a few fields in Steppe. For example, invasion of privacy in terms of when a person voluntarily subjects themselves to being view, such as say through modern Youtube, and involuntary, such as brought to our attention by Edward Snowden.

If you want a quick read of a man out of time, a genre for which Planet Stories was known, Steppe is a great yarn. If you want to see how far Piers Anthony could see the future from before 2000, Steppe takes on a deeper view of technology and man's use of it.