When conceiving of this issue, I found myself wanting to bite back at critics of futurism. Those who call it sentimental, puerile, unrealistic. A fairy tale. Wish fulfilment. Such an anti-utopian mindset is what, I would argue, inspired Jonathan Franzen to write in The New Yorker recently that we may as well accept defeat against the climate emergency. I see this anti-utopianism everywhere. In fact, I see it in myself.
The seeping darkness creeped over the blooming jacarandas, casting spindly shadows under thin branches and delicate flowers. I half expected a beheaded figure to come galloping through fog around the road.
We’re told that in a hundred years’ time there will be fewer of us. No one is prevented from doing anything fun – fucking, I mean – and everyone I know who wanted kids has ended up with one or even two.
Reading between the lines, it was pretty clear they were looking for people dumb or desperate enough to walk out west into the unprotected zone and measure the damage. Can you imagine? Just sending people out there to see how nature will destroy the human body?
I learned that we’d come back much sooner than expected. When we departed, we left behind strict instructions to be brought back once and only if it was safe. We didn’t know who would be around to follow these instructions. Some of us thought no one would be. We’d watched the earth shrink into a tiny blue pearl and made our peace with it. Then we went to sleep.
Time travel is really freaking weird. You have to climb onto this rickety shuttlebus, the kind at the airport that takes you from your plane to the terminal, with about ten or twelve other people who are also making the jump. Then a driver takes you down a short runway, at the end of which is a kind of lit-up portal that’s just hanging in mid-air, swirling with blue and purple lights and spitting out sparks.