Monday, March 4, 2013

In the future...

There, got your attention. Speculative fiction writers like to make predictions about the future.

One that keeps not coming true is that science fiction will become obsolete. (Of course, the way our technological development is not progressing right now...)

If we ever live in a Star Trek universe, will science fiction cease to exist? Much older science fiction has lost its speculative edge as the technology predicted becomes real. We really do carry our computers around in our pockets, with ones that clip to our sunglasses being out there. Space travel might be somewhat stalled, but we're learning that planets in other solar systems really do exist, and some of them might be hospitable to our kind of life.

Artificial organs? Real. Brain-computer interface? Almost there. Self-driving cars? Yup. Flying cars? Uh...yeah. Not everything is here yet.

But the real question is: Can we develop to the point where we don't need and can't write science fiction?

No.

Science fiction is writing the possible either to draw people towards it (utopian) or push people away (dystopian). The possible. I don't know what kind of science fiction a star-faring culture would write, but I know it would still exist, because there will still be roads not traveled. There will still be dreams. There will still be people who want to go peek behind that star over there just to see what's there. There will still be things we can't do...yet.

I think that at this point, science fiction will last as long as humanity. Possibly longer, depending on what form the next stage in our evolution takes.