Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More on Science Fiction

Cory Doctorow writes about how science fiction doesn't so much predict the future as reflect the present.

Mary Shelley wasn’t worried about reanimated corpses stalking Europe, but by casting a technological innovation in the starring role of Frankenstein, she was able to tap into present-day fears about technology overpowering its masters and the hubris of the inventor. Orwell didn’t worry about a future dominated by the view-screens from 1984, he worried about a present in which technology was changing the balance of power, creating opportunities for the state to enforce its power over individuals at ever-more-granular levels.

It just turned out that 1984 was creepily on target, just not when it was actually the year 1984. I find the notion of science fiction writers trying to 'predict the future' kind of silly. Science fiction is a vehicle for stories that often reflect present fears and concerns, though I wouldn't mind some of that stuff on Star Trek.


Post a Comment