Will our future be happy? Will we control our technology or will it control us? Writers Nick Harkaway and Simon Ings warn that we should not accept everything on offer. Ben Marcus’s new dystopian novel imagines what might happen if it all goes wrong.
We’re in an age when technological fact is stranger than fiction – so why are so many novelists devoting themselves to exploring the frontiers of thought? Nick Harkaway explains why it’s the novelist’s job to imagine the future, and how "an act of taking the brakes off the imagination" could even help the world to make the right choices as we hurtle into the future. Simon Ings, editor of Arc, a new magazine devoted to imagining the future, explains the importance of speculative thinking and the sadness of the modern world.
And Ben Marcus talks about the worst case scenario of his new novel, The Flame Alphabet, which imagines a dystopian future where adults are poisoned by the speech of their children, and in which words and writing, and even making signs, also become fatal.