I have been witnessing a very interesting trend in Science Fiction writing. The supposed future that authors create have become very familiar to modern day readers, in as much that the technology portrayed makes sense to the readers.
The golden age of Sci Fi , the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s was filled with Sci Fi writers such Herbert, Heinlein and Asimov. I reckon in time these gents will be seen as philosophers rather than Sci Fi authors. Anybody that has read Dune, Starship Troopers or Foundation will know that these books are opuses of philosophy wrapped in a veneer of technology. Far futures with crazy scenarios.
But there has been a shift in the 80s when electronics really became mainstay. Vernon Vinge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernor_Vinge not only wrote Science Fiction but also coined the phrase The Singularity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singularity which every Tom Dick and Harry now has an opinion about.
But when he wrote it, machine intelligence and self-awareness was a pipe dream.
Now? Now it is around the corner. Other authors such as Neal Stephensson and William Gibson brought Sci Fi closer in time by creating real time environments that are totally insane but very familiar.
An author like Iain M. Banks with books such as Use of Weapons and the Algebraist is more reflective of the philosophy Science Fiction of Heinlein and Herbert. Authors who try to discuss big questions with their ink. But the new generation wants Science Fiction in real life and they want it now.
Here the new kid on the block Daniel Suarez http://thedaemon.com/ delivers. With 3 books he has taken current technologies and created future scenarios with them. And done so that the connected generation really immerse themselves with this and recognize this future tech around them. I for one believe that DAEMONhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_(technothriller_series) is a direct inspiration for the Google Glasses project. Here you can see the author presenting at Google in February 2009 discussing his new bookhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUEGzjnGsiA Coincidence? (just like Captain James Tiberius Kirk inspired Nokia to make a communicator)
Suarez’s new book Kill Decision is a good old Chrichtonite yarn. BUT the technologies are not future tech they are current tech. He speaks of swarming algorithms based on insect behavior that control combat drones and lo and behold Bumblebee Algorithms pop up for the control of package deliveries http://www.gizmag.com/bumblebee-flight-path-navigation/24258/He writes about swarms of drones working collectively to solve problems and viola : A swarm of nano-copters perform to the musichttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lCUGPixEnk
We are seriously living in the future, it’s a cliché but its true. Science Fiction has become past tense.