Well, I started this in public. I may as well carry on. Here's what's happened since yesterday:
Matt also wrote some notes on the Doctorow vs Gibson encounter. More thoughtful than mine. Handy. Might be able to rip him off somehow.
A text correspondent suggested my theme was 'the lack of a future in fiction and life' - that seems good.
Ben suggested that the Rugby League thing was a red herring. The FOOL! And said I should turn comments back on. NEVER!
Gareth sent me an interesting link about "the myth of technological progress". And we had a brief email chat about how we're maybe returning to a historical norm for human kind where we don't think about the future much. Were the people of the Middle Ages speculating about how lives would be different in the future? I don't know.
Matt said I, or the blog post, or something, was 'The Blackboard Coriolanus' which I was flattered by but didn't really understand.
And Warren schooled me about SciFi writers - they don't do prediction, they do extrapolation. And he should know, he's one of the best.
The only thoughts that have occurred to are these:
1. Warren is, of course, right. But SF Writers saying they don't do prediction is like Leonard Nimoy saying he's not Spock. It's factually true, but it's not culturally or emotionally true. It's not true enough to overturn the fact that we take them as predicitions, however they actually generate them. And we want predictions.
2. The SF I really like (recently: Makers or The Caryatids, eternally: Neuromancer or Planetary) shows me a world I can believe in and imagine being in. They're worlds full of recognisable people, however much they're not like today's people. And they're worlds I can imagine building. Sort of. When there's an absence of those worlds, set a few years off, I think culture gets a bit thinner.
3. I bet this somehow connects to ideas about Design Fiction, Gear Porn and Concept Products. Our fictional itch is being scratched by actual technology companies but they're not that good at it. (Not really sure about this one, might be another red herring, NOT like rugby league.)