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The Future In The Forties

One of the enduring appeals of fiction is its ability to creat a feasible setting that opens a window into the mundane. This in turn generates a sense of wonder that puts a refreshing face on the tedium of day-to-day life. This is what keep us turning pages (or refreshing the screen.)  The world of fantastic literature is especially suited to this type of transcendence.  Here’s the challenge: Visions of the far future can be so alien that a modern reader could not relate while imagining a world just a few years from now might be too much like today to make it interesting. Robert Heinlein, the dean of modern science fiction as he was known, created an entire future history as the framework for his stories and novels. It was almost as exciting as the real version. In 1949, he went out on a limb to imagine what the world of 2000 might be like in the pages of Galaxy magazine. Some were right on, some wildly off base, some still to come but all were well-written. Still no jet-packs, though.

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