Near future fiction

I’ve banged on before about the supposed problem of imaging plausible (and non-horrid) futures in fiction. I had forgotten about the related debate about “mundane” SF – the ironic tag for stories about futures which only contain science which does not go beyond the bounds of what seems reasonable to imagine.

The constraints, as defined a few years ago by Geoff Ryman in the Mundane Manifesto, include no faster than light drive, no alien contact, no AI or time travel (and no singularity, needless to say). So the future occurs on this planet, and involves people solving, or failing to solve, recognisable problems with plausible means.There was a special issue of Interzone, but no anthology as far as I know – mundane SF not sounding obviously saleable!

Now however there’s a whole book somewhat in this vein. The concept is a bit different, as it is more about bringing in real science and was produced by writers invited to discuss scientific possibilities with researchers and then imagine what might come next. There’s a useful little preview here. The cast is stellar.

I’ve ordered it – here’s hoping it is as well-stuffed with ideas as the volume of microfictions collected in Futures from Nature, but the authors have been able to take advantage of a little more space. First, though, have to finish reading Richard Powers Generosity, which is definitely near future fiction, and classy with it.

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