The New York Times continues its love affair with Phil Dick in this op-ed piece. The thing that made me curious was the last paragraph – the sf writers’ jobs were to report from the future.

No, no, no.
Sf – well decent sf – is about the present but it uses the milieu of the future to set its commentary. This comes from an age old tradition of using foreign settings to comment on the here and now – The Decameron, parts of the Arabian Nights and so on. Even cyberpunk was commenting on the uses of technology at a given moment rather than really discussing what might happen in 10 or 20 years time. Science Fiction really is not very good at predictions but it is good at extrapolation.
Sigh. One of these days…

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