Now you can get both in one, for Mother Earth News has generously published my review of JMG's science fiction novel Star's Reach, a portrayal of an America transformed by centuries of declining energy and changing weather. The magazine prefers that I not duplicate content, so I'll just excerpt the first paragraphs:
Just for a moment, picture the future. Not your future - not this year’s harvest or your daughter’s graduation -- but The Future.
You remember The Future; you’ve been seeing it all your life. If you were a teenager in the 1990s you remember the flying cars and giant holograms of Back to the Future II, set in the impossibly distant 2015. If you were a kid in the 1960s you probably remember the talking robots and interstellar travel of Lost in Space, set in the faraway 1990s. Similar-looking sci-fi fantasies date back to the 1800s, always looking about the same, and always just a few decades away from whenever Now was.Check out the rest here.
These examples are fiction, of course, but they reflected what serious pundits predicted in publications like Life or Popular Mechanics – one day, they promised, we would all live in domed cities, swallow pills for food and take moon vacations. For generations of boys it gave science fiction an almost religious gravity; we weren’t likely to grow up to be actual cowboys or pirates, but for a time it seemed like we would all be astronauts. Real technology got fancier, of course, so now we download music files instead of spinning records, and drive cars that … um … have more cup-holders than cars used to. The really important changes never happened, though; no androids, no jetpacks, nothing. We never got to Mars, or even went back to the moon; there’s just not much there to see. For generations that future was always right around the corner, and we’re beginning to realise that it always will be.
As more people grew disillusioned with hi-tech utopias – either because they didn’t think we were going to achieve it, or because they didn’t want it – science fiction offered the other extreme of total apocalypse. It’s also a fantasy, in its own way: a war, disease or some other catastrophe wipes out everyone but you and your friends, you get everyone’s stuff, and everyone wishes they had listened to you. Also, just like utopia, doomsday was going to happen any minute now, and never quite got here.