On the World of “Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows”
Trapped in her post-quantum proliferation life, Helen is isolated yet still connected by technology. Although the short story is referring to emails, blogs, text messages, I can see the idea still stands today and probably the same in the future. Her relationship with "SapphoJuice" is something that is enabled by the Internet, and the Internet provided alternate worlds for everyone. No one knows you are a dog here, and no one knows you are a cat in another world either. When the connection is strong, the world built on the signal becomes more and more “concrete” and almost an alternative reality. The increasing reliable relaying in the story is a nice analogy of this development. When people make a strong enough connection in the world of “Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows”, they collapse/disappear. If we think about this, it almost suggests the impact of connecting in reality to these virtual “weak connections”. The relationship gets downloaded the reality, or the download fails.
Recently, I saw a video of VRchat, in a room that functions as a “Chinese corner” where people practice Chinese in their VR avatars. A v-blogger posted his chat video with an American and an Iraqi boy, and the video drew much interest. The v-blogger told his American and Iraqi friends about the popularity of the videos and people's warm comments, and the Iraqi boy was shocked, speechless for almost five minutes. He said he is always the nobody in his class because he is too shy, and he never expected to be liked by so many people. This also reminds me of the novel Sword Art Online and the movie Ready Player One, where the heroes are small in reality but live out their lives in the virtual world. Some people find their strength in v-blogs, online business, streaming games, and more. The weak connections have brought us more possible ways to find ourselves (and lose ourselves too, probably). When I read about the following in the story, I just couldn’t help thinking about internet-based relationships changed people's lives.
“Those who’d lived alone. Those who’d been socially isolated. Not the completely disconnected ones; people without ’net access would’ve gone stark raving within days after the prolif. But the loosely connected ones, who interacted with others only when they had to, or through a screen. Those who’d maintained just enough connection to keep them sane, then. Just enough connection to keep them alive, now.”