‘I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams…’
In 1895, the writer HG Wells imagined a time traveller’s journey through the fourth dimension, thousands of years into the future of London. He returns to tell a tale of fantastic landscapes, androgynous people and a society both horrifying, and mysteriously familiar.
Through visions of society and technology, the future of gender and the changing natural world, yesterday’s science fiction provides strange hints of today’s realities. This year, our London Literature Festival investigates groundbreaking literature and asks writers and thinkers to imagine the future from the perspective of our rapidly changing times.
Many are equally horrible, but it seems as if the use of the blood of young people to rejuvenate rich older people – as posited in The Heart Goes Last – is already in process.
My hope is that we will increasingly govern humanity’s affairs by reason, based on objectively and publicly verifiable evidence. My fear is that this will not happen and that superstition, religion and prejudice will continue to plague the world.
My fear is that we miss the opportunity to act as a cohesive global society to address the environmental challenges we face and end up in a situation in which a small population thrives but many struggle in poverty. My hope is that instead we face up to the crises ... and negotiate a way to share the world’s resources.
I think that the non-human animal rights project will succeed in its mission to see some animals granted some of the rights of humans… I’m interested in the idea of victimless meat: growing meat in vats rather than rearing a whole sentient being just so we can eventually eat its muscles.
It could go two ways. One way: Britain embraces the whole ‘no man is an island but Great Britain is so piss off foreigners’ ethos. And that’s it... what does Britain have to offer then? Or it could go that Britain realises what good work is being done in the cities, in London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham, that it has an outward-facing attitude to the world ... and it’ll thrive because people love our big dumb accents. I don’t know. Can you tell I don’t feel hopeful?