Gwyneth Jones writes about how cyberpunk turned out to have some fairly accurate predictive powers:

In the 1980s, a new kind of science fiction emerged, like a supernova, blasting the old finned spaceships, streamlined Metropolis robots and tentacled aliens out of the sky. Called “cyberpunk”, the manifesto went like this: in the foreseeable future there will be no aliens, and no trips to distant planets. Digital technology, however, will get better and better, throwing up fantastic new gadgets that will not remain in the hands of the wealthy. Every punk will have a supercomputer in his pocket (and this was before desktop PCs, mind you, when video-camera, wi-fi internet access phones weren’t even a twinkle in a Finnish eye). And everything else in the world will get much, much, worse.

The science-fiction establishment hated cyberpunks. Science fiction was supposed to be about progress and how advances in technology would create a better world. But they were right, and the truth they told is highly relevant to this new century of sci-fi come true. If a child is told at the age of five that he has the cognitive scan of a delinquent, there’s a very strong chance that he’ll fulfil that prediction.

Filed under: BooksScience and Technology

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