Science Is The New Science Fiction

The collapse we’re living in is just another on-screen dystopia

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From the stunning opening scene to 1982’s Blade Runner

The most disturbing thing about Blade Runner is the very first frame, when it says ‘NOVEMBER, 2019’. We’ve been living in 2019 for three years now. What the fuck.

We live in the future and it’s not even sexy-miserable. It just sucks.

Science Fiction

Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott filming Blade Runner

Science fiction is increasingly irrelevant as we enter the future it dreamed up. Back To The Future II was set in 2015. Space Odyssey was set in the eponymous 2001. William Gibson started writing science fiction in the 1980s, but now he just writes about the present.

He said: “Without a sense of how weird the present is it became impossible for me to judge how much weirder I should try to make an imagined future.” He continued, “With each set of three books, I’ve commenced with a sort of deep reading of the fuckedness quotient of the day. I then have to adjust my fiction in relation to how fucked and how far out the present actually is.

What’s so weird about the future is how utterly banal it is. We’re fucked but not even in an interesting way. We’re just fucked. There’s a global plague and White Empire doesn’t react just cause they can’t be bothered. There is an evil empire but we don’t even talk about it, let alone fight it. The world is ending and the geriatric emperor tells people to pump more oil.

You would never write a dystopia like this because it’s just stupid, boring, and frankly unbelievable. Yet here we are. In the most dumbass dystopia imaginable.

Instead of flying cars we got electric cars, and instead of robots we got boring corporations, all of which existed centuries ago. We’re even rebooting the same movies. They made a new Blade Runner and called it Blade Runner 2049. They’re not even trying to track this timeline anymore. Even our dreams have abandoned us.

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Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.