Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A Lens

Anything that is read can provide a lens through which to perceive the present. Some people can cite a Latin, Biblical or Shakespearean quotation for any occasion. Science fictional futures can affect how we see the present. Multi-cultural Lancaster and Birmingham can seem like precursors of the multi-species Terran Empire. I have even wondered what would become of country roads in the North West of England after the Fall of that Empire. Someone surfing cyberspace in the early twenty first century might be a precursor of inorganic intelligences spreading through the galaxy billions of years later.

Olaf Stapledon's future history was conceived as a modern myth. The Last men on Neptune review human history. Poul Anderson presents the myth of a cosmic cycle in a hard sf novel. Humanity is re-created in a remote future in his Genesis. Inhabitants of his Terran Empire replay the human - and non-human - drama but on an immensely vaster spatiotemporal scale. All of these futuristic speculations are part of our present consciousness.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Nice blog piece. Reading science fiction is one way of thinking and speculating about both the remote past and future. And EXTRAPOLATING from what one reads. That is, using the scenarios created by Poul Anderson and S.M. Stirling we can wonder what else might happen in those worlds.