Category Archives: Thoughts and speculation

Stop the Dystopia, I Want to Get On.

The article I wrote for the Spring 2020 edition of the British Science Fiction Association magazine Focus is now available on Medium.

It starts with the question: “Is it true that dystopias predict doom-laden futures and utopias inspire better futures?”

It ends with a quote from Laurie Penny: “Right now, the future seems dark and frightening and it is precisely now that we must continue to imagine other worlds and then plot ways to get there.”

What comes in between can be found here.

photo credit: MU Hybrid Art House

Signposts to a post-pandemic future.

In an article just published in the British Science Fiction Association’s magazine Focus, I write about how near-future science fiction might help us see and take a different fork in the road to our future.

However, given that the trick with near-future fiction is to extrapolate from the present, the particular difficulty at the moment is knowing which elements of the changes we are undergoing will stick.

Here’s an excerpt that you may have views on: “… the world feels less sure, more transient to use a term from Future Shock, and it’s probable that there will be an increase in the number of people that will be able to accept science fiction as plausible. Unless they are more sceptical because they associate science fiction with dystopia and they feel they know what a true one of those looks and feels like.”

Do you feel more or less inclined to see near-future fiction as a way of thinking about the future?

Now | Future | Me | Us

Inventing characters, their motivations and their development in a world that is futuristic takes a bit of thought. As some famous non-science fiction authors have shown when they turn their hand to the genre it takes more than a few bits of wizzy technology and a simple twist of history to create a believable story.

So, it’s always a pleasure to come across new techniques for creating and developing characters and worlds. But, that’s only one of the reasons I enjoyed the “bentoism” of Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. It’s also a good way of getting perspective on life and its many complex choices.

What is it? Well, in essence you weigh up the pluses and minuses of a decision for the now you, the now us, the future you and the future us.

There’s more about it on the bentoism website and you can hear him being interviewed on the Futures Podcast.

photo credit: Bennilover “Halloween and Vergie’s pumpkins, weird and wonderful and very, very creepy” via photopin (license)