Just finished 17 days of family travel in Denmark and Sweden, visiting the prominent locales of my mother’s youth around Copenhagen, my father’s family in rural western Sweden, and a long list of castles, museums, gardens, and restaurants. We ate ridiculously well and spent many nights in fine hotels, all thanks to the generosity of my dad, who decided to throw caution to the wind and make this trip a memorable blow-out. Adriana and I, my parents, and Francesca managed to share a small-ish station wagon and two hotel rooms in various configurations during these two weeks and it went about as well as any of us could have hoped. That said, it was also occasionally claustrophobic, and everyone spent at least a day being rather irritable and grouchy. Still and all, we did quite well!
I took hundreds of photos along the way, and realized as I was going that I wasn’t going to be able to blog daily, partly because when we got to the end of each day I was always pretty tired (jet-lag is a bitch, and driving most of the way also took its toll). Also, we had such a crazily intense push to finish “Shift Happens! Critical Mass at 20” before we left that I was quite spent and just needed to be on vacation. So here instead is a long entry full of photos and captions to capture some of the experiences I had along the way.
I was reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest novel “2312”, all 561 pages of it, during these days and it was somehow quite a good complement to the tidy landscapes, the endlessly satisfying design that shapes everything about life in Scandinavia, from bathrooms to bike lanes to museums and public squares. Robinson’s book, titled with the date 200 years in the future, is broken into many short chapters, some of which are lists and fragments and excerpts from ‘future histories’—I liked them as much as the actual story (itself divided into multiple threads). One short side chapter was on a future historian’s analysis of the epochs that start more or less now, and reach to the period two centuries later when she was writing. I thought labeling the period we’re in now, starting more or less at the dawn of the 21st century and carrying on until about 2060 as “The Dithering” was probably spot-on, though a bit discouraging too, realizing that if accurate, I’m only going to see things keep deteriorating over the years I have left… of course another great concept in Robinson’s book is that longevity has been greatly extended, so characters are living between 130-200 years pretty routinely, all taking various hormonal and other therapies to arrest the aging process. Turns out in his future that bisexuality and balanced gender hormonal complexes are key to life extension. He does a pretty interesting job of creating characters outside of the usual boring gender binaries that dominate science fiction, and puts these newly complex possibilities into a larger scientific revolution of life extension.