I’m commenting on visual, narrative, sci-fi despite that being slightly off the author’s topic, because I don’t know what the “futurism industry” is. Is there such a thing? I know there’s a bunch of people famous for techno-prognostication, and a smaller bunch for whom it’s their full time gig, but is it an industry?
Yep there is. I found this post from last year to be worth a read:
I think this is actually not great. Sure, sci-fi should talk about the dangers of technology, but it should also talk about great ideas and fictional inventions that inspire scientists and engineers. There’s not much of that these days...
Now with micro-plastic pollution, mercury accumulation, CO2 filling the skies, and the prospect of ever fewer raw resources I can imagine why younger folks can relate to darker stories.
When I was young, I read scifi because it was fun or adventurous and stimulated your imagination. (say for example, Rendezvous with Rama)
I've been wondering if the balance shifted to dystopian over the years, or did I just tap out all the good scifi?
(Or possibly was I unaware of the dystopian nature of things when younger?)
Dystopian futures aren't really anything new.
There are some more uplifting things like The Martian (great) or Interstellar (admirable ambition but falls short) . . . but I think space movies have to be slightly discounted as cultural products because they're something of a subgenre that leans more towards escapism (by definition) than futurism. (Less so with books since there's a lot more room to build out the world vs. squeezing a standard plot (problem-solving drama, Frankenstein story, everyman vs. even-more-powerful-and-evil elite) amongst cool FX shots)
David Brin keeps trying to claim dystopia is some new trend. It absolutely is not.
Hell no. Try typing "sci fi" or "utopia" in Netflix and look at the results. It's all dark and grimy dystopias. If anything, people thinking about the future need to come up with things that are far LESS "real" if we want people to keep a modicum of hope.
The article itself seems to boil down to: "technology should be sustainable", which is certainly an important goal, but the point could have been made more concisely.
That's a common trait in literature since forever. In greek tragedies even the prompter died. Or look at news headlines. Fear sells.