Edward Willett

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My future city: I dabble in public prognostication

Later this morning I’m expecting a phone call from a reporter at the Regina Leader Post, who wants my science-fiction-writer take on the future of the city, ca. 2035. Of course the city has its own rather boring (well, from an SF writer’s perspective) plan for the futuristic city of Regina, which is full of lots of nice buzzwords like “sustainable” and “accessible,” exactly what you’d expect, but as First World War German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Younger famously said (only, of course, in German), “no plan survives contact with the enemy”—and in this case the “enemy” is rapid ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:25, December 11th, 2012 under Blog |

The Space-Time Continuum: The shape of things to come – science fiction predictions

(My Space-Time Continuum column from the May issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild.) Science fiction is popularly perceived as being concerned with predicting the future. It’s not hard to see where that notion comes from: after all, over the years science fiction has gotten quite a few things right about the shape of things to come. In fact, The Shape of Things to Come was the actual title of a book by H. G. Wells (made into a landmark 1936 film). Though Wells foresaw submarine-launched guided missiles and got a few other technological predictions right, he was primarily concerned with the problems of society. The ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:11, July 28th, 2012 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns |

What does the future hold?

No one knows. But science fiction writer David Brin does an excellent job of summing up the possibilities in "Singularities and Nightmares: Extremes of Optimism and Pessimism about the Human Future."It's a long read, but well worth it.(Via Instapundit.)

Posted by Edward Willett at 5:28, December 27th, 2006 under Blog |

It’s 2001! Where’s our space odyssey?

Ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey appeared in 1968, 2001 has been one of those years, like 1984, that somehow represented "the future." Well, guess what? 1984 came and went, and now 2001 has arrived--and with it, a spate of news stories comparing the "predictions" in the film with the reality. I think that's a pretty wrong-headed approach, considering the main focus of the story created by writer Arthur C. Clarke and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick isn't on the evolution of technology but the evolution of humanity--which, in the movie, is influenced by mysterious black monoliths left behind by some unknown alien culture. Nevertheless, because the film was set in an identifiable year and made an ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 11:40, January 9th, 2001 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns |

Weather forecasting

I know this is a sensitive topic, but sometimes it's necessary to face life's unpleasantries. It's time I wrote about weather forecasting. I know, I know, this time of year it seems like anybody could forecast the weather. "Miserably cold this weekend, but springtime's just around the corner -- not!" But believe it or not, a lot of scientific effort goes into weather forecasting. The fault lies not in our weathermen, but in our atmosphere, that we are shivering. The study of weather is called "meteorology," which puzzled me as a youngster. Shouldn't "meteorology" be the study of meteors? Well, it is, if you're an ancient Greek. "Meteorology" derives from "meteoron," which referred to any ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:01, January 20th, 1993 under Blog, Columns, Science Columns |