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Blackboards Everywhere: Atemporality And The Idea Of The Future

Blackboards Everywhere: Atemporality And The Idea Of The Future
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Russell Davies shares some thought-provoking ideas about the current state of science fiction and future thinking in general.

Dan Gould
  • 6 october 2010

In an interesting new post on his blog, Russell Davies laments the ‘lack of futureness’ in modern times — how there does not seem to be a traditional ‘futuristic,’  fantastic vision being evoked and applied in areas such as fashion, design and fiction. Observing a more pervasive modern throwback culture where the vintage and rustic is revered, he wonders what will become of the classic idea of ‘the future.’

He begins:

It’s hard to miss the missing future in science fiction. Zero History feels like it’s set in the past, actually last year, when we were all obsessed with tactical pants and I was still updating EBCB. I went to see Mr Gibson talk last night and he said it might be true that his last three books were a pinhole portrait of the first decade of the 21st century. And it struck me that maybe all his books are that, he’s been approaching them from a long way in the past, imagining what they might be like. Now he’s in them, capturing portraits of the now. Soon he’ll be doing history.

I sometimes think all this talk of atemporality is an abdication of sci-fi responsibility. SF writers seem very keen to deny that they’re writing about the future. They’re not doing prediction, they’re telling us about the now. OK. Well. Pack it in and get on with some prediction.

Anyway. It’s not just sci-fi. I’m also depressed about the lack of future in fashion. Every hep shop seems to be full of tweeds and leather and carefully authentic bits of restrained artisinal fashion. I think most of Shoreditch would be wondering around in a leather apron if it could. With pipe and beard and rickets. Every new coffee shop and organic foodery seems to be the same. Wood, brushed metal, bits of knackered toys on shelves. And blackboards. Everywhere there’s blackboards.

Russell Davies: “something something something”

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