By Tony October 6, 2009 – 2:19 pm
Tin House #41 should be hitting your mailboxes or newsstand any day now. The dual theme is Hope/Dread (our designer, the fabulous Janet Parker, created stunning covers for each). In the dread corner, look for Nick Cave, Ander Monson, Alex Lemon, Matthea Harvey, and other doomsayers. Flying the colors of hope, we have Karen Russell, Abigail Thomas, Mahmoud Darwish, Matthea Harvey (she’s good enough to have her cake and eat it too), and, as you’ll see below, Cory Doctorow. The “Genre” label created something of a controversy on this site awhile back, but Doctorow’s take on what Science Fiction is capable of is pretty tough to argue with.
CORY DOCTOROW: RADICAL PRESENTISM
Every writer has a FAQ—Frequently Awkward Question—or two, and for me, it’s this one: “How is it possible to work as a science fiction writer, predicting the future, when everything is changing so quickly? Aren’t you afraid that actual events will overtake the events you’ve described?”
It’s a fresh-scrubbed, earnest kind of question, and the asker pays the compliment of casting you as Wise Prognosticator in the bargain, but I think it’s junk. Science fiction writers don’t predict the future (except accidentally), but if they’re very good, they may manage to predict the present.