Writing the Future

Writing the future requires us to explore new worlds. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
Writing the future requires us to explore new worlds. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

What does it mean, to write the future?

Science fiction, at its best, not only shows us what might happen in the years, decades, and centuries to come, but helps us make it happen. One need only look to Star Trek, which showed audiences a racially-integrated future, with handheld communications and portable sensor technology.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and the cellular phone has not only been realized, but it has reached ubiquity. They’re everywhere, but they do so much more than arrange for us to be beamed up (although rideshares are a decent interim solution).

PADDs, portable handheld computing devices, appeared, too. Tablet computing is everwhere. What will the next innovation be for us? Augmented reality implants? Fusion energy (at long last)?

Technology, however, is only part of the science fiction equation. The heart of a good science fiction story is the person through whose eyes we see the new world. Dune had human computers, energy shields, interstellar travel, but what mattered is the journey of Paul Atreides, the fall of his family, his rise and fall as a messianic figure, and those tied to his legacy.

The stories I want to share should show us as we could be. Flawed, sure, because there’s no drama in perfection, but still compelling. Promising. In three hundred years, will people still have jobs? Probably not as we know them. Will religion still guide the vast majority of the population? Probably. Will Eminem’s songs be studied as classical music?

Probably not.

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