If the technological singularity has an event horizon, as I suggested yesterday, there exists a second interesting corollary:
Because it’s impossible to see the future at even a short distance, speculative fiction becomes ever more difficult to produce. As William Gibson noted in multiple interviews for Spook Country, his novels used to be science fiction, but are now contemporary. As he says,
[ . . . ] writing about the world today as I perceive it would probably be more challenging, in the real sense of science fiction, than continuing just to make things up. And I found that to absolutely be the case. If I’m going to write fiction set in an imaginary future now, I’m going to need a yardstick that gives me some accurate sense of how weird things are now. ‘Cause I’m going to have to go beyond that. And I think over the course of these last two books–I don’t think I’m done yet–I’ve been getting a yardstick together. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it again. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make up an imaginary future in the same way.
Have we already entered the singularity? Is William Gibson our canary in the future’s coal mine?
Perhaps the future will see the end of the historical novel, as it’s impossible to see behind you once you’ve passed the event horizon. Or perhaps that’s stretching the metaphor until it’s good and torn, and in the future all novels will be historical novels, because the present will be as incomprehensible to us as the future is rapidly becoming.