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Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Of Mugg’s Games, Me, and Tennessee

A lot of people think of science fiction as predictive–as if those of us who write it are actually trying to forecast the future.

Nonsense, say I.

SF’s track record at prediction is pretty abysmal.  Think about it:  back in 1950, no one, not even SF writers, envisioned computers that could fit in the palm of your hand.  And we were supposed to have bases on the moon eight years ago.

Prediction is a mugg’s game.  If I’m writing a story about the future, I’m not trying to predict a thing.  I’m just trying to tell a story–and if I do it right, maybe plumb a bit of the human condition while I’m at it.  Futuristic tech or extrapolation from current trends?  Yeah, they can be cool, but they’re really just means to an end.

Even so, a broken clock still is right twice a day.

In my story "Fuel" (available online at Cosmos), I wrote about a near future in which sports are ascendant in society to a ridiculous degree.  Consider this bit:

Dad clapped him on the shoulder. "Jamie, you’re twelve years old now. It’s really important that you find your best sport. College recruiters are already contacting boys your age."

Jamie thought of his best friend Russell, who had just received his first recruiting letter the other day, from Penn State. Jamie hung his head even lower.

I guess that wasn’t as far-fetched as I thought.  Or maybe I just didn’t think we’d reach this point so soon. 

At this rate, "Fuel" will look hopelessly dated in another few years.  Yeesh.

Oh, well.  Recruiting is a mugg’s game, too.  Lane Kiffin will find that out soon enough.