The media’s coverage of technology is so often about innovation, change, disruption and the future — but it’s also about uncertainty. As tech develops at a faster clip, it’s increasingly difficult to see where the landscape is going, which is why Wired has devoted an issue to science fiction, according to editor in chief Scott Dadich.
The January “sci-fi” issue, which goes on sale today, speaks to these “uncertain times,” Dadich said in his editor’s letter published Tuesday.
“One of this publication’s most important jobs is to see the big trends, spot important business models and chronicle landmark innovations that show us where we’re going,” Dadich said. “In this rapidly changing, aggressively agitated moment, it’s very difficult to discern what the future holds.”
The editor told WWD that the idea for a fiction issue sprung up in March and started to come together six months ago. Many of the stories address a sort of dystopia that reflects the darker side of technology the way that television has via “Black Mirror” or “Westworld,” for instance.
The issue includes a cover by Christoph Niemann titled: “Tales from an Uncertain Future,” and stories by Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin, Glen David Gold, “Westworld” writer Charles Yu and “The Expanse” creators who go by the pen name of James S.A. Corey.
“All are new, previously unpublished fiction or were written specifically for Wired, except for one story from author Lydia Millet, which was adapted from her novel ‘Pills and Starships,'” said Dadich. “We’re very proud of this issue, from the brilliant contributors to the thoughtful design. It feels deeply like a part of our brand DNA, and yet, is also a true ‘first’ for Wired. If we’re being pushed to find more creative ways to understand the world we’re living in, and the future that we envision for ourselves, then so be it.”
When asked if he thinks creativity and art will flourish in response to a Donald Trump administration, the editor said “it’s too soon to tell.”
“Science fiction has a robust history of inspiring real innovation,” he offered. “Submarines, robots and cell phones were all envisioned first in novels, plays and movies. It’s also a more creative way to stimulate the subconscious, to set the mind free to abstractly envision what the future might look like. Selfishly, we wanted to see how some of the most brilliant literary minds in genre fiction were envisioning the future.”