Thursday, September 09, 2004

Fight the future: Toronto's Globe and Mail wonders whether science fiction is on its deathbed:

"The debate about whether science fiction is dying can be partially traced to mathematician, computer guru and sci-fi writer Vernor Vinge, who in 1993 dreamed up the theory of the coming epoch of the Singularity. In short, this period, expected in 2020, will occur when the rate of technological change has become so rapid that it will be impossible to predict what might come next. Aside from dramatically changing society as we know it, in terms of literature, the imagination of science-fiction writers won't be able to keep up with reality."

But Hugo and Nebula winner Robert J. Sawyer says to hold off on the obituary:

""I think there's always been to some degree a misunderstanding about what science fiction is all about, in that it has been judged by the general public as being literature of prediction, and it isn't.

"It's really in the business of thought experiment -- if this situation were to go on, what might the consequences be, and to put those on the page so people can reflect on them before they are actually slapped in the face by them, that maybe as a society we can even want to do something different than what's going to lead to this fate."