And yet, he admits that being number one has raised the self-esteem of the entire town. International news placing Chile at the top of different rankings in Latin America is not only commonplace, but a source of national pride in the country. The traumatic years of the military dictatorship, when traveling with a Chilean passport meant having to wait extra hours in airports across the world, seem part of the very, very distant past.
In a country guilty of human rights violations, Chileans, in less than twenty years, have assumed the continental role of being the pride of Latin America, a pride based primarily on economics. In keeping with recent years, headlines in diverse media over the past few months appear to confirm this trend. It is after lunch. The mayor and I are drinking coffee while most of the city is taking a siesta. The question has three parts, he explains, the first being the installation of the antennas. The second matter concerns digital mobility, which is to say, training people to use the technology.
The third is the creation of a municipal blog. From his desk drawer, the mayor removes some photocopies and begins to read from them out loud. In January, a new course in rudimentary literacy will be offered to 4, people. The course is basic — for the technologically illiterate.
Training had been in the hands of volunteers from Santiago, and courses were offered at the local high school, with thirty-four computers for three distinct sessions. Benjamin Franklin attended one of the sessions, and while he learned a lot, says that he would like to learn more. He is proud of this fact, just as Chile was proud when, in , ex-president Ricardo Lagos signed the first free trade agreement between the United States and a South American country.
When I ask the mayor to name a concrete benefit he thinks the Net will bring to Salamanca, I am thinking of the changes the Internet has brought to my own life, that, for example, I spend most of my days glued to a computer screen, regardless of where I am, with electronic mail as my only permanent office.
For the mayor, though, the changes have been of a different character. Today Salamanca is alive, he says, and this aspect of the project has been good. He then recalls how, a few days ago on the national news, they were talking about providing all of Shanghai with Wi-Fi. The mayor and the senator are active in the same political party, the Partido por la Democracia Party for Democracy , founded by ex-president Lagos in the final years of the Pinochet dictatorship. Yet, a few minutes later, the mayor concedes that, for now, the filters are not working. He then repeats that the aims of the project are to educate, speed up processing procedures and for Salamanca to step out into the world — a world in which music and pornography are downloaded more than anything else.
Walking its eternally semi-vacant streets, with a portable computer in tow to be able connect to Wi-Fi, I imagine what that festive day must have been like. Photographers cleaned their lenses. Members of the public school marching band tuned their instruments for the parade. Officials and journalists checked into hotels.
In a few hours, President Michelle Bachelet, the first female president of Chile, would officially inaugurate free Internet access for all of Salamanca. That morning, as they marched past the authorities, the children of Salamanca certainly seemed happy. Inside the arena, the stands were packed with people anxious to hear the programmed speeches. The national news was broadcasting the event live. He remembers the excitement that descended upon the town that day: For a withdrawn, quiet person like Benjamin Franklin, it was too much. When the president took the stage, the room was packed.
Just a year earlier, another Chilean city had made the same announcement and the project had failed. And while no one mentioned it publicly on the day of the inauguration, many people recalled a similar ceremony, in , in another town, this time in the southern city of Puerto Montt. That day, the star attraction had been former president Ricardo Lagos, a member of the same political party as the current president, who inaugurated Puerto Montt as the first city with Wi-Fi in the country.
Editions of The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds
The BBC portal announced the news to the world. People in Salamanca recall that, at first, the problem concerned the use of omnidirectional antennas instead of unidirectional ones, and even today the antennas do not cover the entire zone. While problems related to the project may have the authorities worried Wi-Fi, for instance, is still not universally accessible in the city , there is at least one person in this story who is happy about the troubles Salamanca is having.
This is because he has been able to offer a solution to the flaws in the system. His name, of course, is Benjamin Franklin Silva Donoso. The majority of the customers are children playing online at shooting and stabbing the person sitting next to them. The rest of the clientele send or read e-mails or chat, and rarely use the Web for anything else.
One of them is chatting with a friend from school, two blocks away, about their homework. Next to me, an elderly woman is writing an email to her sister in Santiago. She says she uses the computer only to consult her email and prefers listening to the radio to keep informed. She has read a newspaper from Santiago online only once and has never visited the website of a foreign-language paper. Small shops in Salamanca sell refurbished computers, but the bulk of computer sales are made by DIN, a department store that is part of a holding company with branches throughout the country.
On display at the Salamanca branch are bicycles, washing machines, televisions, and, of course, computers. A large poster advertising Wi-Fi serves as the sales hook in Salamanca. Here residents have had to get used to the powerful influence of a technology that is growing worldwide and soon promises to cover the biggest cities in the world. In a corner of the shop — really just a storehouse stuffed with merchandise — is the director of the branch, Gonzalo Basualto.
Not being able to see the ocean every day is disconcerting for him, and he still has not grown accustomed to the sight of so many mountains in all directions. There are no notebooks left in the city, the forty in stock at the store having sold out in less than three weeks. Ever since the appearance of Wi-Fi, customers seem to be interested in one thing only — computers, computers, computers.
This ended in when his story "Byrd Land Six" was published, which he says marked the beginning of a more serious phase of writing. His works are hard science fiction veiled behind space opera and noir toned stories, and reflect his professional expertise with physics and astronomy, included by extrapolating future technologies in terms that are consistent, for the most part, with current science. Reynolds has said he prefers to keep the science in his books to what he personally believes will be possible, and he does not believe faster-than-light travel will ever be possible, but that he adopts science he believes will be impossible when it is necessary for the story.
Most of Reynolds's novels contain multiple storylines that originally appear to be completely unrelated, but merge later in the story. Five of his novels and several of his short stories take place within one consistent future universe, usually now called the Revelation Space universe after the first novel published in it, although it was originally developed in short stories for several years before the first novel.
Although most characters appear in more than one novel, the works set within this future timeline rarely have the same protagonists twice. Often the protagonists from one work belong to a group that is regarded with suspicion or enmity by the protagonists of another work. While a great deal of science fiction reflects either very optimistic or dystopian visions of the human future, Reynolds's future worlds are notable in that human societies have not departed to either positive or negative extremes, but instead are similar to those of today in terms of moral ambiguity and a mixture of cruelty and decency, corruption and opportunity, despite their technology being dramatically advanced.
In this universe, extraterrestrial sentience exists but is elusive, and interstellar travel is primarily undertaken by a class of vessel called a lighthugger which only approaches the speed of light faster than light travel is possible, but it is so dangerous that no race uses it. Fermi's paradox is explained as resulting from the activities of an inorganic alien race referred to by its victims as the Inhibitors, which exterminates sentient races if they proceed above a certain level of technology. The trilogy consisting of Revelation Space , Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap deal with humanity coming to the attention of the inhibitors and the resultant war between them.
Century Rain takes place in a future universe independent of the Revelation Space universe and has different rules, such as faster-than-light travel being possible through a system of portals similar to wormholes. Century Rain also departs substantially from Reynolds's previous works, both in having a protagonist who is much closer to the perspective of our real world in fact he is from a version of our past , serving as a proxy for the reader in confronting the unfamiliarity of the advanced science fiction aspects and in having a much more linear storytelling process.
Reynolds's previous protagonists started out fully absorbed in the exoticisms of the future setting and his previous Revelation Space works have several interlinked story threads, not necessarily contemporaneous. According to Alastair himself, no sequel will ever be made on Century Rain all the others remain at least potentially open. Pushing Ice is also a standalone story, with characters from much less distant in the future than in any of his other novels, set into a framework storyline that extends much further into the future of humanity than any of his previous novels.
It contains an alternative interpretation of the Fermi paradox: intelligent sentient life in this universe is extremely scarce. The Prefect marked a return to the Revelation Space universe. Like Chasm City , it is a stand-alone novel within the Revelation Space universe. It is set prior to any of the other Revelation Space novels, though still years after the original human settlement of the Epsilon Eridani system.
It was published in the United Kingdom on 2 April La respuesta del eco. La muerte como efecto secundario. Casares, Adolfo Bioy. De un mundo a otro. Casas, Mario. Anillos estelares. Alcoba, Daniel. Urbanyi, Pablo. Doctor de mundos anth. Filigranas de cera y otros textos anth. El juego de los mundos. La seriedad anth. El libro de la Tribu. Guebel, Daniel. El perseguidor.
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