How fiction fuels the future

One of the more memorable and fun brainstorming sessions for our book zeroed in on famous books and movies that illustrate our four primary future scenarios.  Yet we found that while there are plenty of stories of breakdown (Mad Max, the current zombie craze), breakthrough (Star Trek), and muddling down (Hunger Games), there are very few tales casting light on how we might find our way into a more balanced world and society from where we are now.  Project Hieroglyph aims to do something about that.  PS Magazine’s brief review captures its essence:

As Neal Stephenson puts it, science fiction “supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place,” producing icons that serve as “hieroglyphs—simple, recognizable symbols on which everyone agrees.” Science fiction is a way to craft big, compelling visions that will get people working on building the future.

While the stories in this initial volume are a mixed bag, the impulse is an important one.  The Project’s website hosts interviews with authors and discussions on the stories, and background on the emerging science featured in many of them.  The site of its institutional home, ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination is also rife with related news and videos–for example, a recent post highlighting anthologies from the Tomorrow Project, which feature writing from young authors, age 13-25.


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