How science fiction affects (but does not predict) the future

Wired's Rose Eveleth asks Can Sci-Fi Writers Prepare Us for an Uncertain Future? Eveleth looks at the rise of science fiction writers being asked to consult with companies about their future plans (I've done some of this), a phenomenon supercharged by a Price Waterhouse Cooper report on the practice. Eveleth delves into the difference between futurism (which purports to have predictive power) and science fiction, whose predictive power is vastly overstated -- but suggests that sf might inspire people to strive for a better future, or make them lose hope that such a thing is possible. Read the rest

William Gibson rewrote the sequel to The Peripheral after the 2016 election

William Gibson's next novel, Agency, comes out in January 2018; it's a near-future science fiction story set in the world of The Peripheral in which "a gifted 'app-whisperer' is hired by a mysterious San Francisco start-up and finds herself in contact with a unique and surprisingly combat-savvy AI." Read the rest

A history of American collapse in science fiction, from 1889's Last American to today

Paul Di Filippo has written a masterful, lively history of the many ways in which science fiction has explored the collapse of the American project, from JA Mitchell's 1889 The Last American to contemporary novels like Too Like the Lightning, Liberation, DMZ and Counting Heads. Read the rest

Why we're still talking about Terminator and the Matrix

My July 2015 Locus column, Skynet Ascendant, suggests that the enduring popularity of images of homicidal, humanity-hating AIs has more to do with our present-day politics than computer science. Read the rest

Letter from the post-work dystopian future

Joel Johnson's short sf story "Hello and Goodbye in Portuguese" is a series of letters between a brother and sister on either side of the post-work divide: the have, and the have-not. Read the rest

Ukrainian science fiction subgenre predicted current conflict

For years, Ukrainian science fiction writers have been producing novels about a Russian takeover of Ukraine. Read the rest