by Chris Creagh
A right eye stares out at you from a cut-out in the front cover. The skin around the eye merges into an electronic circuit board and the cut-out is in a night silhouette of city office blocks only recognisable by the perspective formed by the lights left on in the offices. There is a reflection in the eye of a row of brightly lit double windows which could be those of a passing train. The artist is Craig Hilton and the name of the work is “The Dark Future”
CRYSTAL BALLS AND OTHER UNLIKELY PROSTHETICS II
by Stephen Dedman
“Good Evening and welcome to SwanCon CXV. Firstly, I’d like to thank the Fremantle Museum for lending us the display you saw on the way in – the fossil replica of a tobacco smoker – and to assure you that the crysteel case is hermetically sealed…”
This may be your glimpse of a Dark Future; many Victorians might have felt the same way about the Factory Act. Which leads us to an overwhelming question: what is a Bright Future, anyway?
Try to imagine what an educated, imaginative but fairly conventional Victorian – say, Arthur Conan Doyle – would have thought of 1990: of our cities, our technology, our global politics, our morality, our entertainment. Try convincing him that the only Victorian who might be happy living today is Oscar Wilde. Then ask Conan Doyle his idea of a Bright Future. Chances are, we wouldn’t to live there. Kipling might have created a Utopia we wouldn’t want to visit. Neither of them could have imagined inventions that we depend on; many of the rules and laws that they lived by, we would find obscene or ridiculous.
2090 may be great fun – dirty weekends in zero-g, or windsurfing down 42nd Street – or it may be our personal idea of Hell. Very probably it will be both, but whatever the future is, the inhabitants will call it home. Let’s hope that they merely laugh at us, or romanticise us, rather than envying us – or burning us in effigy. Meanwhile…
Come to the most wonderful place in the Universe