(The following is from the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference 1997 invitation. The conference was a huge success, and the audiotape of his talk, "Joy and Panic in the Dataflow Age," is available from National Audio Video, Inc. 1-800-373-2952 Tape number 23. Cost $12.00)
Greg Bear, writer of _Blood Music_ and many other famous science fiction works, will be appearing at the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference in Seattle on Monday, June 9, 1997, 4:30p.m. - 6p.m. His discussion is entitled Joy and Panic in the Dataflow Age, and will be followed by an autograph session. His appearance is sponsored by the SLA Information Futurists Caucus and will take place during the caucus' Annual Business Meeting.
Greg Bear has won both the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and he is considered the leading practitioner of hard science fiction -- stories where science and technology are integral to the tale. His stories use such hard sciences as biology, physics, and mathematics mixed with wonderful characters and a vision of our society and our future.
Bear's writings portray all types of libraries and, in fact, provide a snapshot of the history and future of libraries. In an early book, _Hegira_, an opening scene takes place in a musty smelling library and the character discusses his love for books and libraries. Later in the book, after a tidal wave has damaged a religious library, a sailor helps re-shelve the collection and teaches the priests how to set up a card catalog. In more recent works, Greg Bear has anticipated the move to digital libraries and has given us some imaginative visions of what libraries may become in the future. In the book _Queen of Angels_ he describes LitVid -- a mix of text and image delivered over "the Net." Bear's idea was futuristic enough to lead to an invitation from Microsoft to talk with them about the future of multimedia art forms. In the novels _Eon_ and _Eternity_, Bear depicts libraries that are part of city memory -- a construct of mental reality containing all knowledge including design templates to create people, fantasy living space, and city memory creches where children are educated. Libraries are used to construct simulated environments, as well as to provide the wisdom of historic time. He has also described societies where people subscribe to a world-wide library system for a low monthly fee, bookstores are obsolete, and non-electronic texts are anachronisms.
Two recent science fiction encyclopedias describe the value of Greg Bear's writings. John Clute's _Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia_ says: "Bear's books map the future; they are required reading." David Pringle's _The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction_ says: "Bear is visibly excited and intrigued by such dazzling post-modern sciences as information theory, genetic engineering and cybernetics, and, because he is able to mix, seemingly effortlessly, complex characters with complex ideas, he stands out as hard science fiction's finest working writer."
for the SLA Information Futurists Caucus