Register or log in:

F&SF Forum » Other Topics

2025: What SF Novel Will We Be Living In?

(7 posts)
  • Started 3 months ago by Marian
  • Latest reply from Mark Pontin

  1. Marian

    It's clear that when this pandemic is under control (I wish I could say over), the world will not be the same. Has any novel or story described how the world might be five years from now? I can't think of any.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. Steve R.

    I don't know of any specific novel or story of how the world may look five years from now. Nevertheless, just expressing some themes that such a novel would be expected to incorporate to maybe spark others to think of such a novel and/or story. Maybe, some industrious author will even write such a novel!

    1. The most obvious theme. We live in an interconnected world where something like a disease can be spread instantaneously. Also supply lines to support the world economy could be easily disrupted by a variety of factors. There have examinations of the effects of invasive species on local ecologies.
    2. The effects of the pandemic will be cumulative to the terrorist attack of September 2001. Increasing the surveillance state and additional restrictions on personal liberty. Will people, in addition to a passport, be required to carry a "health certificate"?
    3. The medical community will have another paradigm shift. The HIV epidemic resulted in blood being characterized as a toxic substance and the need for personal protective devices. The COVID-19 virus will add another "layer" for how to protect people from those infected.
    4. We already leave a digital history of where we have been and what we have spent money on through credit cards, cell phones, etc. We are also seeing the introduction and expansion of facial recognition technologies. Expect these trends to be accelerated and collect in a more centralized manner.
    5. There should be a discussion on whether to "fight" a disease or let it simply run its course. Fighting a disease (developing cures) is considered the correct course of action. But is it? There have been some discussions that we already live in a world that is too sterile which makes us more susceptible to new diseases.

    A bit of dark humor. A professional magazine that I subscribe to, just had a major article on the "death" of the drive-thru. Talk about bad timing, this article appeared at the very time indoor restaurant areas were being closed and people were being "pushed" to use the drive-thru!!!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. Marian

    I agree that there's no SF novel that anticipated this situation. So we're on our own. I'm surprised no one else has expressed an opinion. We are living in historic times. 2020 will definitely go down in the history books as a time when the world changed. What the changes will be is where SF can be useful. And don't forget climate change which has been put on the back burner by the pandemic.

    There are so many directions to go, so many new factors to consider. Steve, you seem to assume this will make the government more powerful What if the opposite happens? What if there's a total political/economic collapse? Or states decide to secede and there's no more USA? And that's just us. What about the rest of the world? For the first time, we have a global crisis, one that spares no nation. Each nation is taking a slightly different approach.

    So what will the world look like in 2025?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  4. CarlGlover

    For the average person (i.e., you and me), not much different.
    The "1984" surveillance state will not have happened.
    The polar icecaps will not have melted. New York City will still be above-ground.
    Democracy and capitalism will still be the dominant forces in the civilized world (emphasis on "civilized").
    Wearing masks and social distancing will be quaint and forgotten relics of the past.
    The Yankees will be playing baseball in full ballparks.
    Science fiction will still be mired in the depths of political correctness.
    Not every flu season will be regarded as the potential end of civilization (unless one occurs during an election year with the opportunity to unseat a disliked presidential incumbent).
    Toilet paper will be readily available.
    Science will continue to improve the human condition.
    Etc., etc.

    In sum, the "pandemic of 2020" will have had little or no discernible long-term effect on everyday human behavior and the human experience in general.

    If the second-deadliest viral outbreak in recorded human history, that of 2017-18 in unfudged figures, caused little more than a blip on the public's radar screen, what chance does our current politically-interpreted one have of doing more than that in the long run? Most people I've talked to hardly remember it, even at this early date. My memory is sharper because I'm one of those it almost killed.

    I'm laying 3-1 odds that I'm right. Any takers?

    So, the future looks bright and uncluttered to me. I plan on still being around in 2025, coronavirus-free and enjoying every day in the greatest society man has ever created.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. Mark Pontin

    Marian wrote: " And don't forget climate change which has been put on the back burner by the pandemic."

    Ah, yes. Very good.

    You are correct. There's in fact a potential connection between COV19 and climate change, and it's not necessarily the one the media is pointing to. See the '2020' thread.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. MattHughes

    Somebody will come up with a quick and easy treatment for Covid-19. It will be mass produced and spread around the world. Everybody, from western sophisticates to Tibetan shepherds will take it.

    Then: surprise! When it's excreted into rivers and goes into the sea, it will combine with all the other chemicals and plastics there to trigger Ice Nine.

    By Christmas, we'll all be solid.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. Mark Pontin

    Voila, Matt! Instant story idea.

    The Vancean angle of attack doesn't immediately occur to me. But you're the expert on that toolbox.

    In fact, whatever vaccine(s) they settle on is/are not going to be what's conventionally meant by a vaccine -- that is, a dead or deactivated specimen of coronavirus -- but almost certainly something constructed initially in silico that exploits RNA (since the coronavirus is an RNA virus) and then built using DNA synthesis.

    One way or another, that'll have science-fictional ramifications. We seem to be well and fully living in the 21st century finally.

    Posted 3 months ago #

RSS feed for this topic


You must log in to post.