History of the Future by 1bs6r5Rc


									History of the Future

 ST197 – Jan Plan 2001
        Idea of the Course
Largely but not exclusively Science Fiction
– Claim: “Get used to the future, it is where you
  will be spending the rest of your life.”
But, the future of SF is already historical
– “Classics” of field written in 1940s-60s
– Often draw on much older ideas
So we can learn more about the past than
the future
“Science fiction was an historical literature…
  In every sf narrative, there is an explicit or
  inplicit fictional history that connects the
  period depicted to our present moment, or
  to some moment of our past”

  – Kim Stanley Robinson, 1992
            About Me
B.Sc, M.Eng in Systems Integration
– computer science with business perspective
M.A., Ph.D. in History and Sociology of
– History of technology
– Use of information technology in business
– Sociology of organizations
Computer consultant
– Data base design
– Project management
– Web application development
            Have taught
– Economic History
– Science Fiction
– Computers, Culture and the Internet
– Data base management systems
– Introduction to Business & Management
           Course Involves
Reading             20% Midterm
Thinking            25% Final
Talking             30% Class
Writing             Participation
                    25% Paper (about 8
          How Selected?
Has to be good
– Most have won “Hugo” and/or Nebula award
Fit with themes and each other
– All US (excepting Stapledon)
– All set on Earth/Near Future (excepting Dune)
– Even coverage of 1940s-1980s
A lot of good stuff missed out
      Origins of the Future
Utopian ideas
– Plato
– Moore
Scientific Revolution
– Remaking of world – Newton, Copernicus
– Intellectual progress
Industrial Revolution
– HG Wells, Progress, Darwin
         Things To Come
1936 epic
– Global war
– Fall of civilization
– Triumph of Science
  and World State
Based on Wells’ book
        Last and First Men
Not exactly a novel
First epic future history
– 19 species of mankind
– 3 planets
– hundreds of millions of years
In tradition of HG Wells
– evolution & eugenics
– mysticism
   Science Fiction as Genre
– Thrives 1920s-1960s
– Based on magazines
– Teenage boys
“Golden Age”
– Asimov
– Heinlein
– Clarke
             Defining SF
SF vs Sci Fi vs Speculative Fiction
SF vs Fantasy (tech vs magic)
Some definitions
– Based on Science?
– What If? vs If This Goes On?
– Set in the future?
– Admits natural explanation?
              Tricky Cases
Fitting everything in
– Alternate History
– Impossible ideas
    Faster than light travel
Suspension of disbelief
Not getting too much
Publishing category?
      1940s Short Stories
The Green Hills of Earth" by Robert A.
"The Roads Must Roll" by Robert A.
"The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur
C. Clarke
"The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin
"Runaround" by Isaac Asimov
"Evidence" by Isaac Asimov
      The Demolished Man
Published 1953
– Won first Hugo award
Telepathy & Detectives
– Futuristic New York
– Writing very stylish by
  SF standards
Giant Mutant Ants
Menace LA!
– Cold war paranoia
– Fear of radiation
– 1953
    A Canticle for Lebowitz
Three parts
– written 1955-1957
Life after nuclear war
– Religious
– History repeating itself
– Science & God
1961 Hugo winner
Huge best seller
– Published 1963-1965
– Won 1965 Hugo and
  first Nebula award
Mixes elements
– Feudalism
– Ecology
– Politics
SF established in books
– Long, Slow
– Based on Clarke
– Stapledon influenced
Mystic transcendence
– Alien influence
– Dawn of time to birth
  of star child
Weird, Philosophical,
– Nature of Reality
– Drug culture meets
– Written 1966
Dick’s work filmed as
– Blade Runner
– Total Recall
– Screamers
               Man Plus
Space Exploration
– Won 1976 Nebula
– Creation of cyborg for Mars
Bleaker, more cynical
Most influential SF
novel of past 20 years
– Won all awards
– videogames
– “street” culture
Virtual Reality
            Blade Runner
Cyberpunk setting
meets Dick plot
Nature of humanity,
            Blood Music
“Hard” Science Fiction
– Biotechnology
– Near future
– Updating classic theme
– Nominated for Hugo, Nebula
              The Matrix
More cyberpunk
– Hong Kong action movie
  meets existential crisis
Conceptual breakthrough
The future is a very powerful idea
– Advertising
– Politics
Ideas of the future have changed our
– Engineers, computer scientists, NASA people
History is interesting

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