Can Sci-Fi be happy?

Neal Stephenson is one author I really admire, simply for his accuracy and the immense detail  that he puts into his work, some might say that he caters only to a nice tech-friendly crowd. In 2011, he conceived Project Hieroglyph with the aim to give science-fiction writers a serious dose of optimism. I found the idea a little utopic (pun intended), although I agree that there is a general lack of optimism with advances in technology. But science fiction is not completely out to destroy society. Arthur C. Clarke, an author familiar to most sci-fi readers, once brought up the idea for a means of communication. This gave birth to the modern geo-stationary satellite.  Even though the idea stemmed from a fiction author, unfortunately it wasn’t in any sci-fi novel or short story. It was an article printed in Wireless World magazine in 1945. Consequently, I feel that a novel can maybe hold ideas for the greater good, but ultimately it will lack character if the conclusion puts science or technology in the good guy’s role. It will be difficult for the story to ring true. The reality is that big brother is winning in many ways and sustainability is still at it’s infancy to have hard implications.  Also, this debate is largely philosophical. Perhaps one can argue that technology has always been disruptive at it’s roots and for science-fiction to be truly optimistic then it would have to plan for a future were technology wanes. Or that technology can be fall into ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ hands. Still, I’d be interested to see examples of Project Hieroglyph.


About krithik

An Electrical Engineer by training, who occasionally dabbles in programming and design.
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