According to the Discover magazine article Blinded by Science: Fictional Reality, science fiction helped make the present but now it’s obsolete:

Then again, it could also be the other thing–the thing that nobody’s quite bringing up over the plastic cups of Yellowtail Merlot. Which is that science fiction, the genre that lit the way for a nervous mankind as it crept through the shadows of the 20th century, has suddenly and entirely ceased to matter.

Granted, the ways in which it once did matter were never obvious. The early days of science fiction, much like all its later days, found its exponents bickering about what the genre was, what it should be, and what its relationship was–if indeed it had one–with the more established human pursuit known as Science.

But the genre has an even bigger dragon to slay with its new profusion of cheesy, dwarf-wrought superswords: the scarcity of foreseeable future.

The world is speeding up, you may have noticed, and the rate at which it’s speeding up is speeding up, and the natural human curiosity that science fiction was invented to meet is increasingly being met by reality. Why would I spend my money on a book about amazing-but-fake technology when we’re only a few weeks away from Steve Jobs unveiling a cell phone that doubles as a jetpack and a travel iron?

[via Christopher Paul Carey]

Filed under: Books

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