chapter  Chapter 2
35 Pages

Macrological: Old Futures

WithPeter Stockwell

Each period in the development of science fiction has configured its own version of the future. In particular science fiction narratives, these are either set in the near future of the time of publication or in a far distant future. This chapter examines a range of historically dated futures across twentieth-century science fiction. A noticeable feature that emerges is that these old futures retain a stylistic encoding of their point of origin, and an exploration of these styles is important for a thorough understanding of how the extrapolated future works in science fiction. This discussion is macrological, in that it is concerned with the global matter of plausibility. The chapter discusses the main issues that have centred around spatio- temporal relationships between past and future, time of writing and target time of setting, time of writing and time of reading, future narrators and present readers, and readers existing in the future of writers.