ZPi | "Space Sonja and Monorails"
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Lyle Zapato

"Space Sonja and Monorails"

Lyle Zapato | 2007-08-15.6177 LMT | Monorail Danger | Politics | Technology | Letters
Goodspaceguy Nelson

Seattleite Goodspaceguy Nelson is a politician with a very forward-looking agenda: he wants humanity to colonize orbital space. Besides being his passion, orbital colonization was the major platform plank in his unsuccessful 2006 bid for US Senate.

Now that Goodspaceguy is running for King County Council, he has apparently had to put aside that big dream for the time being (there's only so much a Councilman can do in the arena of space colonization, after all,) and is instead focusing on removing restrictions on building height so the people of King County can live in "beautiful, high density communities filled with sky homes" -- slyly encouraging citizens to take baby steps into orbital space.

Intrigued by his bold vision of an orbital future, I wondered what he thought of that other ostensibly futuristic vision that has gripped the region since 1910: the monorail. While monorail fever has become somewhat dormant as of late, there's always the threat that it may flare up again (figuratively and literally) and as a Councilman he may have to address the monorail issue.

I emailed him and the other two contenders for the District No. 8 race to see what are their official positions on monorails. John Potter (R) and Dow Constantine (whom Nelson is running against in the Democratic primary) never bothered to respond, not even with a form letter.

However, Goodspaceguy not only responded, he responded with a fragment-of-fiction, titled "Life in the Colony: Space Sonja and Monorails". Set in the Boeing Blue District of the orbiting space colony at the dawn of orbital colonization, it comprises a Socratic dialog between himself, as a newly elected colony councilor, and Sonja, a "state approved, professional tease" who does performances imitating the spirit of Cher:

To prove that she had been reading, Sonja asked, "When our Boeing orbiting space colony becomes really, really large, do you think that our descendants ... of both we, the current space colonists, and of the new colonists still to be sent up by Boeing and Microsoft and the other space companies of King County ... I mean, do you think they will build space monorails or will they continue to float and glide themselves and their equipment through the zero gravity of space, as we do now?"

Goodspaceguy's position is that monorails are not cost-effective: "To be profitable, monorails require a huge number of people who use them regularly and around the clock ... The government transit systems turn out to be real money losers. The tax payers end up paying for the loss." Instead, as I mentioned above, he proposes high density communities and "24 hour, never-stop, go-go cities" that would get rid of rush hours. As to monorails in the orbital colonies (which I asked him about) he downplays them (and presumably other forms of transit) and suggests that colonists should get exercise by walking in "gravity corridors" to compensate for all their time floating weightlessly.

At the end he includes a poem which sums up his position on monorails nicely:

Monorails, Like Sonja, Can Be Fun!

by Goodspaceguy

Bodaciously beautiful call girls
Are expensively fun like monorails,
But Sonja finds that many would-be riders
Are without sufficient money pails!

The would-be-riders ask, "Oh, who will
Pay for our fun and frenzied riding times?"
Look to the sleeping tax payers. Their pockets
Are filled with dollars and dimes."

Some taxpayers shout, "Please, please stop.
Our dollars and dimes will not be enough!
Let us avoid frenzied transit monorails,
Paying for transit trips will be too tough."

Let us build more homes up in our sky,
And continue to walk under our Sun.
We want sky homes near our work, but we agree
That monorails, like Sonja, would be fun!

Bodaciously beautiful call girls
Are expensively fun like monorails,
But Sonja finds that many would-be riders
Are without sufficient money pails!

(While he may get flack from some for the subject matter, the correspondence of monorails to prostitutes is not undocumented.)

Given his sensible position on monorails (and the rude non-response of his opponents,) we here at ZPi are proud to endorse Goodspaceguy Nelson for King County Council to the people of District 8. I look forward to the day when the mile-high and monorail-free condos of Cascadia are serenaded from orbit with Cher's "Believe."

UPDATE (2006-08-26): Sad to report that Goodspaceguy Nelson lost the Democratic primary to water-taxi proponent Dow Constantine, 8.89% to 90.84%. Just more proof of the inordinate sway that the powerful Water Taxi Lobby holds over the primaries. Remember King Countyites, you can still write-in Goodspaceguy in the general election.

End of post.