Locus Magazine Online has a great (but pessimistic!) piece this week–Global to Local: The Social Future as seen by six SF Writers. John Shirley asked Cory Doctorow, Pat Murphy, Kim Stanley Robinson, Norman Spinrad, Bruce Sterling and Ken Wharton to comment on a whole bunch of issues–including war, the environment, information technology and control, and of course, the upcoming US election.
These guys are pretty perceptive, generally, but their visions are really a major downer. I’m not hearing much sense of wonder, not much wide-eyed gazing ahead at the progress and shining future we have in store.
Unfortunately, I think they’re pretty much correct! Especially on the election results. Here’s Ken Wharton:
It’ll be decided by a million Red Queens: swing-voters who are so overburdened with busy lives that they’re running just as fast as they can to stay in the same place. It’s a big decision, with big implications, so you’d hope that these people will take at least a few hours to find relevant information that isn’t spoon-fed from the campaigns. But with no time to weigh how hundreds of complex issues are going to affect their families, a big part of the final vote will come down to gut instinct. Instincts that may have served us well on the African savannah a hundred thousand years ago, but are now all-too-helpless in the face of well-financed Hari Seldons. And unlike Asimov’s legendary character, I’m not convinced that these guys have our best interests at heart.