SF Future is Now

Three Penny Review had an interesting article, which I wanted to bookmark for my own writing.

The world we inhabit is one in which weekly newsmagazines, printed on paper in columns of type, are considered primitive and profoundly obsolescent; in which an entire bookshelf of bound volumes can be stored in a gadget the size of a fingertip; in which a mechanical device that is only about four inches long and a fraction of an inch thick can record whatever we like, play it back to us through a tiny earpiece, and rest comfortably in a pocket when not in use; in which space flight has been invented but is rarely used by humans, who have lost interest in it after the initial decades of excitement; in which hand-held or easily portable computers are a commonplace item; in which literature can hardly be distinguished from film in the public mind; and in which some members of society long fruitlessly for a past era when all such developments were unknown and almost inconceivable.

We do, in fact, live in such a world, but I mean something else. The above description, detail by detail, exactly characterizes the world of Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity, a science-fiction novel set mainly in the 482nd, 575th, and 2456th centuries. What is remarkable is that Asimov’s book first appeared in print in 1955.

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