Challenge,  Fun Stuff

Science Fiction In Real Life

Just Got to Be Aware of It…

Late this afternoon, because it is 110 degrees outside, Kris and I went down to the Resorts World hotel complex. Just finished a year ago, three major Hilton brand hotels in the same massive building. The reason was to walk and get exercise without going to a gym. And there was a small restaurant there that we wanted to try for dinner when done walking.

If you walked into the lobbies of all three hotels, then back along the casino and then up and back in the huge interior mall that’s bigger than Fremont Street and then back, it was a one mile lap. Fun people watching and very nice.

At one point off the mall, there was an elevator going down to the Boring Company Station for the Resorts World. It just opened and will connect the massive convention center to the hotel with Teslas in underground tunnels. Last year, in major conventions, the transportation system just between the two halves of the convention center transported about 24,000 passengers a day. The Resorts World station is the first of thirty stations along the Strip, Allegent Stadium, Reed Airport, and downtown. It will, when fully open, be a point to point transport system, all in Teslas, all underground, and move about 450,000 per day and more.

A ride that now takes $50 by cab or Uber and 40 minutes from downtown to the airport will take 14 minutes, have no stops, and cost about $12.

They will have the entire system done in three years. Tesla’s. All self-driving in tunnels. All approved and going to happen.

It dawned on me as we rode up the escalator from the station that I was experiencing science fiction. This was a future I could have not imagined when I first arrived in Vegas in 1972.

Then, Kris and I decided to try a restaurant we had both been wanting to try for a while, when we heard it was opening in Resorts World, but it only opened a month ago. So we walked up and got in.

Now most of you know that Kris has a massive milk allergy, among allergies to mold and perfumes and things like that. So to make it easier, we just go to a lot of Vegan restaurants. Now, if you have not experienced the new world of Vegan, you will be amazed. And this is a high-end vegan restaurant.

I had a scallops dish as an appetizer and Kris had a cheese plate. Both were very yummy and totally dairy free. This entire restaurant was Vegan.  I then had a stunningly good main meal of sausage in a sauce I can’t even describe it was so good. (Sausage, vegan, made in the restaurant.) Kris had a chocolate dish for desert that was so rich I could only taste it. Wow.

And it dawned on me once again I was experiencing science fiction. Not that long ago Vegan meant eating a salad. Not anymore. And imagine the uses of this kind of food in long space flights. All science fiction.

And then, in our last lap about the place, we stumbled on a vegan ice cream shop. Almond and cashew ice cream.

I am just glad I have lived long enough to see some of this mind-blowing future things. Most certainly fun.

And as a science fiction writer, I can’t even imagine what’s next.

And tomorrow the first targeted image of the James Webb telescope comes out, after todays first amazing picture. And that picture is just as if you held up a grain of sand over your head. That’s how big the picture of the sky with all those galaxies in it. A grain of sand. Not possible for the human mind to grasp the scale. Or the distances.



  • Philip

    I’ve really been looking forward to the first James Webb pics. I watched a brief documentary on the design and construction of it and was amazed by that process alone.

    Science Fiction indeed. My mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure about a year ago and she was immediately distraught because that’s what killed her father in 1982. But now, she saw a world class surgeon who performed open-heart surgery and replaced her heart valve with a synthetic one. That was in October 2021. Now she’s doing great and actually looks and feels 10 years younger.

    I’m excited for the progress my kids will experience when they reach my age. The news stations give us reasons daily to be pessimistic (I think they like us better that way) but you’re right to point out the wonder and goodness of our Science Fiction world.

  • Kate Pavelle

    Wow, Dean! The auto-driving Teslas underground are a brilliant idea, especially in your climate. There are now windows that harvest solar and turn it into electricity, and they are starting to see use on a few large buildings. They are only slightly darker than the windows we have now. My grandpa had been trying to develop a plastic like that, but it was all black. So anyway, I wonder whether Vegas, along with other cities, will go grid-free as old windows get slowly replaced by solar ones. That could power all those Teslas. Also, with Lake Mead’s level so low, it would be nice not to depend on the reservoir’s height for power generation. All science fiction indeed!

    • dwsmith

      Las Vegas uses less water now than it did in 2000 by a long ways, when there was 750,000 fewer people. Conservation here is masterful and Vegas doesn’t even begin to use all the water it is allowed from the lake and river. California is the big problem. They are just starting into what Nevada and Vegas started into for conservation in the 1990s.

  • Alexander Boukal

    Something I’ve been recently exploring that is definitely Sci-Fi converging onto the present is the very near future use of ai generator art for creating book cover art. From what I’m seeing from Google Colab, Dall-E, and MidJourney, ai programs can create art that costs nothing or close to nothing but looks as if you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the book cover art.

    • Amy

      That sounds amazing, Alexander! Is it anywhere near ready for use by self-publishers (i.e. easy interface, licensing all sorted out)?

      • Alexander Boukal

        Need to explore Google Colab but I know that anybody can access it. There’s a tutorial on youtube that provides the link to get the coding used to generate the art. You don’t need much coding knowledge yourself though; all the coding is done for you; you just need to run the program step by step, then provide your prompt of text that will get turned into an image.

        With Google Colab, the art is apparently 100% unique and not generated using existing images so you definitely could use the art in book covers. The tutorial explains it. Here’s the link to the tutorial:

        MidJourney AI and OpenAI: Dall-E are both in BETA right now. But from videos and google image searches of what people have tried out making in BETA, the resulting art is mind-blowing.

        • dwsmith

          Well, that is amazing and above my computer skills and going to be very interesting with copyright. But way cool!