I never cease to wonder about the vast amount of futures we have in store. While there is only one past, albeit an eternally contested and subjective one, the future is manifold and unfuckwithable. Recent pulpy science fiction binges and forays into blockbuster cinematic media have proven this indubitably; After all, maybe the main reason Science Fiction works as a storytelling medium is because no one can prove it wrong. Who’s to say that the Pre-Cogs, soaked in some primordial slime, will not be able to see crimes before they occur or that Rama, hollow and the size of a moon, is not floating through space on the way to some deliberately unknowable destination? Certainly one real future must be bobbing around in all the millions of lucid, delusional, sweaty, pedantic, post-apocalyptic, and utopian ideas that have been proposed by the authors of the past.
What if we had a choice? What if everyone decided that the future of Total Recall, with its boxy cars and three-breasted Martian women flouncing around anesthetic dance clubs with laser guns strapped to their loins, was the best direction for us? Could we rally together, lay out a 100-year plan, and make it happen? We could create a future, in a way, more firmly rooted in the past than anything that might have happened naturally.
In the light of this possibility, I’ve been considering the best futures, the ones I’d most likely rally behind in the case of a universal temporal survey of the human race. Of course, no one is interested in waking up one morning only to realize that they’re actually brainwashed secret agents from Mars with some serious revenge on their plates, so I’m not considering the narrative arcs of these literary and filmic futures, only the world in which they ostensibly take place.
Before my official “Best Futures” list hits the Internet, I’d like to enlist you, my readership, to provide your personal votes. Do you dream of immortality within a crystal prism? Would you happily spend the rest of your life mining “the Spice”? I want to know! This should be the people’s choice, and no one is safe from the conceptual flagella of future-leaning media, least of all in this day and age.
In the interim, some suggested reading to get you going:
Excerpt from Minority Report: A Report, a new collaboration between myself and Aaron Flint Jamison:
I loved it uncritically, without hesitation. Usually I am not this forgiving to movies, this completely open to whatever brand of reality they wish to impart; I am trying to figure out why exactly I feel this way. I think it is largely, although not entirely, due to a kind of nostalgia about Tom Cruise. He is excellent in this, and excellent in the way that only Tom Cruise in this particular kind of movie can be: incredibly angular, vaguely troubled by some long-passed trauma, prone to jogging at night in some gothically hooded sweatshirt, capable of making complex hand gestures. I found myself euphoric while he was running around wearing black, so fast, so Olympian, escaping not just his particular pursuers but the whole corroded logic of his future-history. I think that he runs with his hands flat, unclenched. More areo-dynamic, is the idea behind that.
Fingertips cutting through the air.