Performance Art Terrifies SF Writer

Nancy Kress— author of one of the ten books we can't wait to read this year — is worried that being a science fiction writer is beginning to affect her grip on reality. Of course, in this case, "reality" involves a demented performance art piece. But she's not letting that get in the way of her argument.

Performance Art Terrifies SF Writer

Over on her blog, she writes:

A friend sent me the URL for an amazing YouTube video in which over 200 people simultaneously freeze in place for five minutes at Grand Central Station (only in New York!) What's fascinating about this is the reactions of all the passers-by. They smile; they cell-phone their friends; they wait interestedly around to see what will happen next. One guy says it's probably a "protest" of some kind. A Grand Central employee, unable to drive his work cart through a frozen group, calls his supervisor to ask what he should do. But nobody is alarmed.

This is when I realized that I must think differently from all these others. Had I seen this sudden mass freezing, the first thing that would have come to mind was a virus of some kind, possibly genetically engineered, that causes a vastly speeded-up Parkinson's-like syndrome, locking muscles in place. I would have called 911, afraid that lung muscles would be next and all these people would stop breathing. I would have wondered if it were contagious.
Luckily, she takes the right lessons from this experience:
(1)I need to stop thinking like an SF writer in normal life. (2)I have no appreciation for performance art. (3)I trust that when people do something, it's for straight-forward reasons of their own and not because they're deliberately trying to mess with my mind. (4)I should never live in New York.
That last one's the one you should be paying attention to, Nancy. Definitely. [Nancy's Blog]