Category Archives: science fiction

Why do we crave the awful futures of apocalyptic fiction?

In the first two decades of the new millennium, stories of the post-apocalypse have permeated pop culture, from books such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009) and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014) to films and TV programmes such as The Walking Dead (2010-), the Hunger Games series (2012-15) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). While post-apocalyptic fictions of previous eras largely served as cautionary tales – against nuclear brinksmanship in On the Beach (1959) or weaponised biology in The Stand (1978) – today’s versions of these tales depict less alterable, more oblique and diffuse visions of our doom. So why can’t we seem to get enough of humanity’s unavoidable collapse and its bleak aftermath?

https://aeon.co/videos/why-do-we-crave-the-awful-futures-of-apocalyptic-fiction

Navigating the Mysteries

The correct response to uncertainty is mythmaking. It always was. Not punditry, allegory, or mandate, but mythmaking. The creation of stories. We are tuned to do so, right down to our bones. The bewilderment, vivacity, and downright slog of life requires it. And such emerging art forms are not to cure or even resolve uncertainty but to deepen into it. There’s no solving uncertainty. Mythmaking is an imaginative labor not a frantic attempt to shift the mood to steadier ground. There isn’t any.

https://emergencemagazine.org/essay/navigating-the-mysteries/

Using Fiction to Find Your Strategy

Unlike many strategic foresight tools, design fiction does not attempt to identify what is more likely to happen. Nor does it limit strategy conversations to the C-suite; in fact a core component is the participation of a wide range of stakeholders. Consequently, the teams that we’ve seen deploy design fiction are able to formulate and shape desirable futures that other tools do not enable people to see.

https://hbr.org/2022/06/using-fiction-to-find-your-strategy?registration=success

The Imagination Machine

The imagination space is a construct of what is immediately imaginable given our lived experience so far. Take, for a recurring example, the car. Because of the car it is easy for most folks to plausibly imagine more eco-friendly cars, autonomous cars, even flying cars. The car produces the imaginable future variations of the car within the limits of our futures cone or imagination space. However, these imaginable futures are also confined and structured by the car so that it is much easier to imagine marginal improvements on the car such as making it safer, more environmentally friendly or more efficient than it is to imagine cities without cars.

Essay for Yale Architecture Journal Perspecta 54 examining the relationship between imagination and expectation, science fiction and software.