Tuesday, February 14, 2012 • 9:22 AM Comments ()

Metal Underwear, Telling the Future

posted by James Heflin

In the recent past, I read The Beast with Nine Billion Feet, by Anil Menon, an affable fellow I met at Readercon. I also read Paolo Bacigalupi's Windup Girl. Both are science fiction, both are set in Asia, and both are far more finely crafted than your average work of SF. (In fact, Windup Girl is the most accomplished piece of pure SF I've read since Paul Park's Soldiers of Paradise.)

I couldn't help but think of that kind of unusual (at least in America) collision of futurism and Asia when I saw this photo:

That's a robotic fortune teller in India. It's always strange to me to see when something that formerly existed only in SF novels arrives, in all its unimpressive, shabby glory, in reality. The automatic religious kiosk of THX-1138 seems positively impressive compared to plugging headphones into a pair of underpants painted bright red.

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