Sounding either like an old man or a writer desperately trying to generate controversy to promote his new novel, scifi author Brian Aldiss has announced that reality has not only caught up with, but potentially outpaced, science fiction as a genre.

Here is today, 2007, with its diseased ideas of drugs, Darfur disputes and suicide bombers. The truth is that we are at last living in an SF scenario. Little wonder the tiger is almost extinct, the polar bear doomed. How do you think the algae feel, in the great wastes of warming ocean? Can you not hear the ecosystems crashing down? Ideal fodder for SF, one might think. However, one might not if one was brought up on Isaac Asimov and AE van Vogt. SF is not designed for realism but for imagination.

As it turns out, Margaret Atwood also feels as if life is imitating - and outdoing - fiction. In particular, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Shopping malls stretch as far as the bulldozer can see. On the wilder fringes of the genetic engineering community, there are true believers prattling of the gene-rich and the gene-poor - Huxley's alphas and epsilons - and busily engaging in schemes for genetic enhancement and - to go one better than Brave New World - for immortality.

Me, I'm disappointed that no-one has commented on the precognitive failure of Space 1999 yet. Aldiss image by Gruntzooki


Our science fiction fate [Guardian Unlimited]
Everybody is happy now [Guardian Unlimited]