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In 1974, sci-fi author Jerry Pournelle contacted some of the world’s best science fiction authors and curated a book of stories about life in 2020. Is it time for us to give those predictions a second look? Imagination Connoisseur Anthony Choice thinks it would be a worthwhile exercise for the Post-Geek Singularity.
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Around 1971 renowned Sci-Fi author Jerry Pournelle had a granule of an idea, a vision really. The idea wouldn’t reach its full fruition until three years later when it was finally published as a book – 2020 Vision (1974). The book is an edited anthology of collected short stories about our Future Present, their then Future yet to be) written by the marquee Sci-Fi authors of the period. Toward the end of Pournelle’s Preface to the book he write the following:
“This book, though, is a book of predictions. It was designed that way. It is not, of course, primarily a test of the power of science fiction writers to predict the future. It is, after all, intended to be entertainment. At the same time, 20/20 Vision gives us a unique opportunity.
We will, many of us writers and readers, be around in 2020, medical science being what it is – assuming that anyone will be around in 2020. By then, probably, nobody will give a [d]ang what we said here; but the authors of this book hereby serve notice that we will buy a drink at the 2020 World Science Fiction Convention (Marscon?) for each and every reader who brings with him a copy of 20/20 Vision and points out – briefly – just where we went wrong in our visions of the future.
The ground rules on this book were simple. Each author had to write a story which he truly believed could take place in the real world during the year 2020. There were to be no benevolent Alpha Centurian social scientists landing on earth to solve all our problems – unless, of course, the author really thinks the Alpha Centurians are coming in the next fifty years and that they’ll give a damn about saving us when they get here…”
That time he spoke of is now, a window in time rapidly coming to a close in only a matter of weeks. My suggestion to the PGS, the show, and you Rob is can a quick reading, and perhaps discussion thereof in answer to the open call and invitation from those many decades past by Pournelle and his peers be answered ? Under the shadow of Covid, what might have been kind of came and went with but a blip, but did it? The reality we are now living by every account is to be sure a compelling work of dramatic SciFiction if ever such existed.
Rob, PGS and oh so wise Mod’s of Magic and Mayhem what are your thoughts?