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4:28AM

The Next Half-Century's Great Waves of Change

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As someone who thinks systematically about the future for a living, I frequently read science fiction with an eye for what it reveals about how today's real fears are being projected upon tomorrow's imagined landscapes. The books behind the 1973 movie "Soylent Green" (too many people!) and the 2006 movie "Children of Men" (no more babies!) make for a good example. Compare their central premises and you've basically captured the 180-degree turn the popular imagination has experienced on population growth over my lifetime.

Continue reading this week's New Rules column at WPR.

Reader Comments (6)

Good Column, Tom . . But I'm too old to hold you to it . . Heh, heh . .
October 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlarge
Ray Bradbury was once quoted as saying, "I don't try to describe the furture; I try to prevent it."
October 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstephen
The coolest graphics yet for one of my online columns!
October 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Barnett
Great column, there was recent web comic getting at the fatalism of sci-fi pretty humorously, http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/22/caveman-science-fiction/.
October 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLee
Ever read any of H. Bruce Franklin's Marxist analyses of science fiction? His orthodoxy is a bit much, but I always liked the idea that optimism/pessimism in sf is a reflection of the status of the social class of the author. Not an accident that "1984" was written in 1949 by someone who grew up in a status of colonial privilege in British India.
October 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstuart abrams
I have looked forward to this for years! Visions of Ray Kurzweil mixing with the strategic thinking of Tom Barnett. This is one of your best articles...there is so much new food for thought here. This is not science fiction nor flu hallucinations. It is "wake-up" perspectives about the 21st century. Keep it coming!
October 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElmer Humes

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