Seemingly infinite branching futures lay before us, most of them bad-shaped. Will the pandemic and wildfires leave us in withered, blasted ruins? Will the new Supreme Court finally transform us into a full-blown theocracy? Will voter suppression continue unabated until election day? Will the militias show up? Will the election — I’ll just stop it there.
Who knows! About any of it! Now is a moment in which everything seems possible, especially crippling anxiety. But while we all wait with bated breath for our hoped-for outcomes, perhaps we can take some solace in considering a few of those infinite futures. In incomprehensible times, I’ve found good speculative fiction can do wonders.
So, in honor of the mess that is sure to be election week, when the only thing that’s certain is uncertainty is certain to come, let’s take a look at some of the most informative, soul-satisfying fiction we’ve published here at OneZero this year. Starting with the almost-too-on-the-nose “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom” by the master, Ted Chiang. A story about alternate timelines and time spent worrying about how we might change our own, there is simply no better story to read to nourish a fretful soul this week.
Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom
Put simply, Ted Chiang is one of our generation’s greatest speculative fiction writers. This may seem like hyperbole…
Next up, we have “Bloodchild,” another masterwork this time by all-time speculative fiction great Octavia E. Butler.
This peerless short story by visionary fiction writer Octavia Butler examines the legacy — and future — of colonization…
We ran “Bloodchild” as part of our series on visionary fiction, the genre and practice of placing the scope and the tools of sci-fi into activists, students, and advocates’ hands for the sake of building a better future. Walidah Imarisha, an educator and author who teaches visionary fiction, argues in her piece about the genre that “all organizing is science fiction.” To create a better future, you need to imagine it from the ground up.
For some further-flung futures — blasted landscapes and A.I. run amok — maybe revisit the exclusive excerpts we published from William Gibson and Jeff VanderMeer.
‘Everything That Promised Glory Became Gory’: Exclusive Excerpt
The author of ‘Annihilation’ returns to the post-apocalyptic world of ‘Borne’
An Exclusive Excerpt From William Gibson’s New Novel, ‘Agency’
The celebrated sci-fi author returns with a novel set in an alternate — but familiar — timeline
And to take a stroll through the brains of the people who write and think deeply about these futures, maybe spend some time with the first two installments of our series Why I Made This Future with post-cyberpunk speculative fiction writer Tim Maughan and Peter W. Singer, who practices SpecInt, or deeply researched science fiction.
The Man Whose Science Fiction Keeps Turning Into Our Shitty Cyberpunk Reality
A Q+A with the novelist Tim Maughan, whose disturbing future predictions have had an unfortunate habit of coming true
Peter W. Singer Explains Why His “Robot Revolution” Is Inevitable
His sci-fi novel about WWIII got him invited to the White House. He thinks his next one, about A.I., will do more than…
Hopefully, by the time you’re through with all that, a slightly better future or two will have asserted themselves. If not, at least you’ll be able to prepare for the shitstorm.