Which Science Fiction Future Are We Living In?

“I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.” – Ray Bradbury (who famously wrote “fantasy”).

I believe that Ray offered that quote in response to a discussion of science fiction’s predictive qualities.  Flying cars are great – until you start thinking about traffic control.

What he meant, I believe, was that we were supposed to read these “predictions” and come to the conclusion that some things that are possible maybe ought not be part of our future.

1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale, Frankenstein, Brunner’s Shockwave trilogy, The Marching Morons (and its close cousin in film, Idiocracy), are meant to be huge (huuuuuuge) DETOUR signs on the road to the future.

We’re not supposed to seek out those futures, we’re supposed to recognize how horrible the consequences could be and bend our efforts towards heeding those warnings.

Instead, we seem hell-bent on taking those paths.

Clearly, science fiction readers are not at the wheel.


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