Historical SF

I love reading historical science fiction, as it can reveal the direction of aspirations and fears during a particular period. Of course, it’s also interesting to note when those stories of the future were set. This analysis reveals, for example, that in the 1980s the majority of science fiction concerned a near-future setting in the early 21st century. The change in obsession with the near-future is particularly intriguing to note, as it increases with the rise of Cold War tensions in the second half of the 20th century. This seems to make sense, as that time period contained a real possibility of a world being dramatically altered in the near future, possibly by nuclear war. In contrast, since the end of the Cold War, science fiction has turned more towards the far future, perhaps reflecting the long-term nature of current human concerns such as climate change.

John Scalzi offers an excellent explanation of privilege through the conceit of a video game:

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
You can lose playing on the lowest difficulty setting. The lowest difficulty setting is still the easiest setting to win on. The player who plays on the “Gay Minority Female” setting? Hardcore.

Although I didn’t choose it, I’m lucky enough to be playing life on the easiest difficulty setting. Still, I’m trying to use the many starting points handed to me to explore new parts of the map where I’m not necessarily playing on the lowest difficulty setting. Hopefully, this can help me to make other difficulty settings a little less hard, with the side effect of making a pretty easy game a little more fun.

This excellent explanation was recommended by Jason Kottke.