As Bob Guccione wrote in 1978, in the opening pages of the very first OMNI Magazine, “the frontiers of human knowledge and experience are forever changing, forever expanding, and we, who are living at the very dawn of time, must make our common peace with change if we are to survive the next 1,000 years.”
We can make our peace with change, and map it, too: at the intersection of science fiction and reality, and the point where the two stray apart. After all, there have only been a few periods, fleeting, incandescent, where technology, science, and science fiction have found themselves expressing the same desires. In the Space Age, writers conjured the stars just as scientists worked diligently to send us there. In those days we dreamt collectively–our heads in the sky, our feet on the moon. But more often than not, science and science fiction diverge. Now, far more than in OMNI‘s heyday, our visions of the future are fractured in the simultaneous, ever-changing electronic marketplace of ideas we call the digital world.
The future has become a product. It supports a cottage industry of folks who earn their bread prognosticating, prophesying, designing, and marketing it. We are sold the impression that it will happen, like an event, from one day to the next–and told we will need the right gadgets to properly recognize it. But the future doesn’t work that way. It’s not a clubhouse; it’s not a trend; it’s not a place. The future will mostly likely happen as it always has: emerging from a million transparent forces, from patterns already, always, in place everywhere around us.
The Verge: Where does science fiction publishing stand now? Bruce Sterling: I think it’s basically dissolving, really. It’s like asking what about journalism? There’s a lot of stuff going on right now that calls itself journalism but that doesn’t really fit into the old-school definition of journalism at all. It’s like advertising, it’s quite like […]Read more