Spark

The future as fiction: how speculative novels teach us about the present

Five top fiction novelists offer their thoughts on what we can learn from speculative fiction

Besides predicting the future, good science fiction helps us understand the present

What can science fiction teach us about the strange times we're in today? (Adam Killick)
Listen to the full episode53:59

These days, we're living with a lot of uncertainty. And that can be scary. So we turn to science, to mathematical models and policy makers, all to try to understand where things are going. 

But fiction can also offer us insights into not what's going to happen, but who we are. 

Novels can remind us that no matter how scary or uncertain things are, others have dealt with similar feelings.

Over the years at Spark, we've spoken to many authors who have imagined the future, and where our strengths and weaknesses could lead us. And while none of them predicted what we're going through now, they still offer insights on being human in strange times. And for where we may be headed.

So we've put together a special featuring Spark interviews with some of the best novelists of our times: Gary Shteyngart, David Mitchell, William Gibson, Ian McEwan, and Margaret Atwood.

Click on the 'listen' button above to hear the special program.