The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Will androids dream of electric chickens?

robotic chick cute

Somebody once asked me what would be the best piece of technology to put aside and store for a possible future apocalyptic scenario.

If the future ends up being similar to Philip K Dick's vision from "Blade Runner" then perhaps a box of the above robotic chicks would serve as a valuable token to barter for goods and services?
Phillip K Dick poster audio book
In that story the environment was damaged and the entire population was taking part in fostering animals and insects in the safety of their homes so that one day in a more healthy future the world could be re-populated. The size and scarcity of the animal was how people displayed status in that society. A wealthy family may have a horse whereas a more middle class family might only be able to afford a chicken and the less fortunate citizens had to bear the shame of not having anything to take care of. A black market sprang up to provide robotic animals to those who either couldn't afford the real thing or had their real animal kick the bucket. Robotic technology was to the point where they had android servants that would sometimes malfunction and kill their owners.

The above robotic chicks are only 27 dollars now, but I'm sure if that type of future takes hold you could expect to fetch upwards of a thousand dollars or more.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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My husband has a huge collection of Philip K. Dick. Every time he tells me a story line I am so amazed by the brilliance of it, but I have yet to actually pull one of the books and read it. Seth calls him a prophet.
Comment by Sara Sun May 29 18:01:26 2011 won't have any left to read soon. :-) I don't think I've ever read Phillip K. Dick, actually. Hard science fiction takes a bit of getting into for me. I like my books to either be character-driven novels or homestead-related (a broad term) non-fiction.
Comment by anna Sun May 29 19:05:40 2011
Hey P.K. Dick did some hard science fiction but much more social science fiction--like Nancy Kress.
Comment by Errol Sun May 29 19:41:20 2011

Mark, I love your dark humour :-). And your taste in fiction.

I've been reading less and less fiction lately, though, and a lot more "homesteading-related non-fiction".

Even when I sit down to watch a video, I'm much more likely to put on an episode of River Cottage, or watch YouTube videos on slaughtering rabbits or butchering chickens (yeah, any government agency tracking my watched clips is putting me on their list!), than to watch a mainstream movie. The exceptions are really good sci-fi (District 9 was great!) or clever comedy/parody (Best In Show, Spinal Tap, and the new Angry Boys series).

Some of the old BBC TV shows are very good too - in particular, check out Survivors (from the 70s, not the reality show) if you want a great post-apocalyptic insight.

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Sun May 29 20:17:17 2011
Me too! I can get deeply involved in character novels (I love Don Delillo, another of my husband's favorites) but I am most drawn to non-fiction and apparently environmental philosophy is really attractive to me. PKD was pretty prolific. I've read one book, VALIS, but I didn't know what was going on so I may be better off with storylines :)
Comment by Sara Sun May 29 20:22:23 2011

Daddy --- Despite the fact that I just rated one of Nancy Kress's books five stars on Goodreads, she's almost too hard SF for me. I can feel her philosophizing and I roll my eyes, hoping she'll get back to the characters soon. :-) That said, I probably should give Philip K. Dick a try.

Darren --- Isn't it great how broad a category "homesteading-related non-fiction" is? I keep thinking I'll run out of books, but my to read list just keeps getting longer and longer... (Of course, I also tend to need to read about five fiction books for every non-fiction book since I use fiction to put myself to sleep and non-fiction to keep myself alert.)

Sara --- To be completely sexist, I think character-driven novels are a girl thing. :-) Which is not to say that men can't enjoy them and women can't enjoy hard SF, but I think there's a trend in that direction.

Comment by anna Sun May 29 20:30:17 2011

In the really good sci-fy, the exotic hardware is just a setting for the characters and the story.

David Weber's Honor Harrington novels are a relatively recent favorite of mine. Iain Banks "culture" novels are also very interesting. (You can read some of them and other interesting books online or download them from the Baen free library. Highly recommended.)

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon May 30 02:47:16 2011

"In the really good sci-fy, the exotic hardware is just a setting for the characters and the story." That's a perfect way of putting it. Too bad so many sci-fi authors think the opposite is true. :-)

Now that I have an ebook reader, I should check out the Baen free library. I stumbled across it months ago, but can't seem to make myself read right on the computer, so I tabled the idea until I'd come up with a better way of reading ebooks.

Comment by anna Mon May 30 07:49:39 2011

You're so right on the "homesteading-related non-fiction" category being broad! Every time I think I've read all the books in my library on those topics, I discover a whole 'nother section - home maintenance, food technology, craft, design, etc. And then I recently discovered that many of the biographies have a lot of good info too.

Oh, and I recently rediscovered Laura Ingalls Wilder now that my girls are old enough to enjoy them!

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Mon May 30 18:39:03 2011
I've been thinking of rereading that series one of these days too. :-) Of course, if you branch out into homesteading-related fiction, there really is no end!!!
Comment by anna Mon May 30 19:11:25 2011

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