Beyond Future Fatigue
Some interesting quotes from a blogpost by William Gibson about science fiction and temporal dimensions (present, near future, distant future):
"Alvin Toffler warned us about Future Shock, but is this Future Fatigue? (...) The Future, capital-F, be it crystalline city on the hill or radioactive post-nuclear wasteland, is gone. Ahead of us, there is merely…more stuff. Events. Some tending to the crystalline, some to the wasteland-y. Stuff: the mixed bag of the quotidian. (...) Please don’t mistake this for one of those “after us, the deluge” moments on my part. I’ve always found those appalling, and most particularly when uttered by aging futurists, who of all people should know better. This newfound state of No Future is, in my opinion, a very good thing. It indicates a kind of maturity, an understanding that every future is someone else’s past, every present someone else’s future. Upon arriving in the capital-F Future, we discover it, invariably, to be the lower-case now. (...) The best science fiction has always known that, but it was a sort of cultural secret. When I began to write fiction, at the very end of the 70s, I was fortunate to have been taught, as an undergraduate, that imaginary futures are always, regardless of what the authors might think, about the day in which they’re written. (...) I wrote a novel called Virtual Light, which was set in 2006, which was then the very near future, and followed it with two more novels, each set a few imaginary years later, in what was really my take on the 1990s. It didn’t seem to make any difference. Lots of people assumed I was still writing about the capital-F future. I began to tell interviewers, somewhat testily, that I believed I could write a novel set in the present, our present, then, which would have exactly the affect of my supposed imaginary futures. Hadn’t J.G. Ballard declared Earth to be the real alien planet? Wasn’t the future now?"
Why do I blog this? some resonance with the theme of Lift09, these quotes are inspiring after a good discussion with Julian about design fictions.