I commonly field the question of what ties together all the threads I pursue on this blog and in my podcast. Cory Doctorow, in his most recent Locus column, has generously given me an excellent explanation at least for why I tend to ruminate so much on science fiction as a literature and why I find it woven so much into my thinking about technology and policy.
Science fiction exposes: it can be hard to understand or even see upheaval when you’re in its midst. But just as a doctor will swab your throat and grow a sample of the flora she finds there in a petri dish until it’s large enough to identify, so too can a science fiction writer construct a petri dish of a world in which a single technology or idea can grow to fill it, providing a magnified look at something that was too small to be detected in situ.
The exposure he so beautifully explains is just one of the functions this genre of work can serve. I won’t spoil the most compelling argument, rather urging that you read the article, if you haven’t already. Cory’s keen insight here is why I recently praised his skill as an essayist, a facet of his work that I don’t think garners as near as much attention and credit as his oratory and fiction.
A Vocabulary for Speaking about the Future, Locus Online