03 March 2004

Warren Ellis is thinking about the future

Super-cool Warren Ellis, whose more reputable inventions include Transmetropolitan and Planetary, has a knockout rambling essay about the future and, um, stuff.
We seem to be currently in the grip of what me and novelist Alex Besher call ''future fatigue''. It's what Bruce Sterling is talking about when he playfully advocates switching the word ''futuristic'' with the word ''futurismic.'' The future as we have imagined it seems tired, boring, ordinary. The Space Shuttle is a classic car now, as aesthetically historic as a finned Fifties car.
We're living in a science-fictional world now. Someone reminded me that JG Ballard once said ''the future will be boring,'' and damn if old miseryguts wasn't right all along.
I saw Stewart Brand lecture, a few years ago. Standing there like he'd just wandered in from a foresty log cabin, Swiss Army knife and compass mounted on his belt, he talked about how we'd become a workaround society. We have become entrained to step outside the stated rules of a device's operation in order to get it to do what we want.

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