A few years ago, Jack William Bell wrote an article complaining about the impact of the Singularity on science fiction writing.
“The Singularity is this enormous turd that Vernor Vinge crapped into the punchbowl of SF writing, and now nobody wanting to take a drink can ignore it.”
He believes that twentieth-century science fiction was about the possible, the possibilities of following one path or another, of one future or another. And that the Singularity, usually defined in shorthand as “the point where the future becomes unimaginable,” really puts a crimp on this one.
He boils it down to two options: “Our choices consist of either writing purely escapist fare or of asking hard questions about ultimately unknowable things.” Bell doesn’t go very far exploring the latter, but we’d like to at Glorious Dawn.
What do you think? Does the Singularity make traditional, future-telling SF impossible, or does it open new possibilities? Note that science fiction writers approaching the Singularity (Vinge, Stross, Goonan, Banks) either by showing its origins, or talking about those on its fringes. And why should it be unimaginable? Ishi the Indian could make sense of pre-WW1 San Francisco after forty years in the stone age, and that’s a larger leap than any between us and any Singularity (especially it comes as soon as predicted).
So, is there a future in SF? Or are all the futures unknowable?