Don’t Read This Unless You’re a Science Fiction Writer
Countless other SciFi writers have not only predicted the future but changed it. Television shows like Star Trek introduced us to teleporters. Star Wars showed us hyperspace. The Outer Limits and Twilight Zone peppered us with the ultimate question: What if?
Over the years, SciFi writers may have suffered a touch of cynicism with the rest of us. Dystopian futures, the collapse of the U.S. economy, money more useful as something burned than spent. Maybe, writer Neal Stephenson suggests, SciFi writers need to change their focus.
“Though dystopian SF is a crucial part of the genre, … it doesn’t provide an imaginative framework to help scientists move forward with a larger vision of what their work might accomplish. Especially in an era when scientific work is so specialized and narrow, we need SF that tells stories of how each tiny discovery pushes us closer to a future where we escape the confines of our planet and explore the galaxy that awaits us.”
More importantly, he says writers need “to start collaborating with scientists. They can do this partly by writing more hopeful stories about the future — but more importantly, by writing stories about massive engineering projects, like Mars bases, that could conceivably be implemented.”
While this “call-to-arms” was directed toward SciFi writers, any writer use this as a gut-check.
How are you making your mark, creating your legacy as a writer or telling the story of something bigger, hopeful and more positive than you ever imagined?
As an aside, I’ve curated a list of resources that talk more in depth of Neal Stephenson and his treatise at the World Policy Institute. Stephenson, by the way, authored a laundry list of massive books that lovers of history and politics would also enjoy.
Related articles about Neal Stephenson
- Science fiction writers have a job, and it’s time to do it, says Neal Stephenson [Quote Of The Day] (io9.com)
- The case for optimism, cont’d: The need for vision, and letting visionaries soar (bluejaysway.wordpress.com)
- Neal Stephenson’s Reamde: Virtual Reality Check (time.com)
- NEAL STEPHENSON: INNOVATION STARVATION: I worry that our inability to match the achievements of … (pajamasmedia.com)
- Play It Again: Neal Stephenson’s Reamde (themillions.com)
- If it is realistic or plausible, then it is not science fiction [Book Excerpt] (io9.com)
- A New “Recommendation Engine” for Science Fiction Books [Books] (io9.com)
- Does Great Science Require Great Science Fiction? (bigthink.com)
- Neal Stephenson Says Video Games Are the Metaverse (news.slashdot.org)
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