Astounding Story

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But science fiction is a reflection of science, and science has opened up immense new horizons—some wonderful, some terrifying. Molecular biology, cloning, gene splicing, and all the other things the life scientists are learning to do have suggested any number of stories. Consequently, writers like Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, John Varley, and many others are showing us possible future worlds in which human beings change their appearance, and even their gender, almost at will. The computer is with us—only in its babyhood stage so far, but getting more pervasive and more powerful every year. Because of it, there is a whole science-fiction literature, grotesquely named cyberpunk, about how people may behave when every human brain has a computer implant to help it learn, remember, and act.

It hasn’t been all gain for the science-fiction writer. As science goes on converting science-fiction ideas into hard facts, any number of stories can no longer be written—they’ve happened—but the scientists give with one hand what they have taken away with the other. New opportunities present themselves with every fresh-cloned genetic string and smaller, faster microchip and new discovery about the evolution of the universe. However many ranges on the landscape of the imagination we may cross, there is always another one on the horizon. The future of the future remains promising.

My Favorite Dozen Science-Fiction Novels