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The Golden Age

I keep saying this to my kids and friends – we\’re living in a Golden Age. Yes, I know about the global financial meltdown and that there\’s a recession still stubbornly bumping along and that we seem to have elected a government even more adrift from reality or commonsense than usual (Big Society concept? Shut down all the local libraries at once!).
Golden ages normally happen at times of disruption and dislocation. The Elizabethan golden age, which is when most of my crime novels and thrillers are set, was considered at the time to be disastrous. There was famine and plague in the mid-1590s when Shakespeare was building his career in the new art-form of theatre. The following decade, when he wrote his major tragedies, included a risky regime change, a very serious terrorist attempt on the Houses of Parliament, more plague and some spectacular corruption in government.
Many years ago, I read a very interesting thesis that in fact a society needs to be going supernova in order to produce the wave of creativity that is later called a golden age. That was John W Campbell in one of his thought-provoking editorials for Analog Science Fiction and Fact, a mainstay of my nerdy teenage.
One key symptom is the massive expansion of a new art-form – theatre in the late 16th century, novels in the mid-19th century, movies and TV in the mid-20th century. Take a look at the latest wave of computer games. Like I said, it\’s a golden age.

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