Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Truncated Futures, Take 2

Another book with the same structure, and the same flaw, by the same publisher. Somebody over there really needs to call a science fiction writer. I think what's happening is that each of the authors really wants to talk about a particular favorite future, and the editors are letting them get away with it. But when you start your pitch by framing a set of possibilities, you really need to address each of them fully, or it looks clunky and incomplete. If you're only interested in one, don't draw too much attention to the others. The setup is good, but the followup falls apart.

This bit ...

2020 - Huge African famine kills 4 million. 60% of world’s fisheries so depleted that it is ‘uneconomic’ to fish there. Beyond this point it becomes too unpleasant to relate….

... really hit my "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" button. It's not "too unpleasant to relate." We had better be looking ahead to what will happen if we don't solve the problems facing us, or we're going to wind up in that situation and have to cope with no preparation, which would really suck. You can't just go "what if" and then stop. You have to follow through with the "and THEN what?" questions too.

If the people writing about world changes are unable to do it without blinking, that's a problem, because other people are following where they lead. Skipping or truncating possible paths is a very bad habit in a future-history-scout. We really need someone to put the pieces together, map out a wide range of possibilities, and list the potential responses to all of them.
Tags: economics, environment, networking, reading, science fiction

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