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POINT OF VIEW: Sci-Fi Hopes and Dreams

Futuristic city - deposit photos

The world is in a downward spiral. If covid doesn’t get us, climate change, the rise of the populist right, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse probably will.

There is ample reason to be downright pessimistic about the future of the human race and the planet in general – who will come to save us? All prospects look dim.

But as a sci-fi writer and someone dedicated to finding hope, being down on the future is not my job. So I thought I’d share a few future wishes that I’d like to see come true, regardless of the current darkness we find ourselves in:

We Solve Climate Change

It’s not going to be easy, and at this point there’s probably no way to prevent more bad things from happening. But I am hopeful for a future in which we both adapt to changing conditions and find a way to slow down (and eventually reverse) the climate change process. This may happen through a combination of things – switching away from fossil fuels, carbon capture, and a change in the way we live our lives. I want to think we’re smart enough to figure this out when our backs are against the wall.

You Can Be Who You Are

We’ve gone through a shit-ton of societal upheaval over the last fifty years around racial identity, gender, and sexual orientation. While many people now accept (and even celebrate) our differences, many more are still mired in a rose-tinted version of the past, where everything was wonderful (and everyone who wasn’t straight, white, cisgender and male stayed in their place). I hope for a world where our differences truly don’t matter, where we as a race mature enough to value each person for who and what they are.

We Take Care of Each Other

Proposals for a universal minimum income have been floated for decades – one of my friends remembers talking about it with her friends in the sixties. The idea is to have a basic floor that everyone is paid that’s enough to subsist on, money that would help lift the world out of poverty. While this seems hugely unlikely in the US given the vitriol thrown at anything that sounds vaguely “socialisty” unless it benefits the rich, this could be a great equalizer, helping the poor, recreating the decimated middle class, and provide for those who want to pursue the creative arts, while also giving the rest of us a safety net.

Social Media Works For Us

Right now, most social media is built to stoke emotion and create addiction, and to allow those companies to siphon off our personal information and make money off of it. This has led to so many terrible things – pitting neighbor against neighbor, spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories, and damaging children who grow up in such a toxic stew. And yet social media has made some wonderful things possible too – look at the communities we’ve used it to create, like Queer Sci Fi. I want to see it fundamentally overhauled and brought back to what it was meant to be – a way to connect us, not divide us.

…And Flying Cars, Too

No list of future hopes and dreams would be complete without the inclusion of those whiz-bang things I used to dream about as a kid. Some are already here – the iPhone does many things a Star Trek communicator did. Computers have become ubiquitous. And AI is slowly taking over the world, in ways both good and bad. But I still want my flying car from the Jetsons and my jetpack from Jonny Quest. And while you’re at it, throw in Rick Hunter’s transforming Veritech Fighter from Robotech. I’d also love to see healing technologies that could truly cure cancer. And I dream about one day setting foot on another world. I want to see us survive this moment of crises – this chokepoint that most species inevitably reach as they use up their planetary resources – to find our future in the stars.

Those are some of my future dreams, my sci-fi hopes that I model in my work.

Will they happen? Will we as a race survive long enough to give them a chance?

I don’t know, but I really want to believe that they will. Only time (and sci-fi) will tell.

To my writer friends, what are your sci-fi hopes and dreams?

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