What ‘Blade Runner,’ cyberpunk, and Octavia Butler had to say about the age we’re entering now
2020 is not just any year, but because it is shorthand for perfect vision, it is a date that people liked to imagine in the past. OneZero, a Medium publication has a nice story on How Science Fiction Imagined the 2020s (Jan. 17, 2020). The article looks at stories like Blade Runner (1982) that predicted what these years would be like. How accurate were they? Did they get the spirit of this age right? The author, Tim Maugham, reflects on why do many stories of the 1980s and early 1990s seemed to be concerned with many of the same issues that concern us now. He seems a similar concern with inequality and book/bust economies. He also sees sci-fi writers like Octavia Butler paying attention back then to climate change.
It was also the era when climate change started to make the news for the first time, and while it didn’t find its way into the public consciousness quickly enough, it certainly seemed to have grabbed the interest of science fiction writers.
The sci-fi stories discussed include:
- Bruce Sterling: Islands of the Net
- Rudy Rucker: Software
- Stephen King: The Running Man
- P.D. James: The Children of Men
- Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents
The author of the essay, Maugham, is himself the author of Infinite Detail a recent and good story.