Science Fiction? What Science Fiction?

Wow. John Schellenberg writes a whole hand-wringing article over at Aeon about how modern culture seems to accept “deep time” as a concept pertaining only to the past and not the future — and nowhere in the article is science fiction even mentioned. No Stapledon, no Stross, no Vinge. Not even Wells! And not even a dismissive comment like “Oh sure, sci-fi folks may do this, but when it comes to serious inquiry blah blah blah…” It’s as if the whole undertaking of SF simply never existed.

It’s almost like an ironic short story about an alternate universe where Western culture has no tradition of imagining the future. I was expecting it to end with some sort of alternate-world stinger like “If only there were writers brave enough to explore concepts like space travel or post-scarcity economics! But ever since H.G. Wells died in that trolley crash at the tragically young age of thirty, no writer has taken up the task.” Which would be a pretty clever story, incidentally — certainly more clever than Schellenberg’s article.

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