The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper
Science Fiction is in the Future… Society

Outside of the places we convene as a tribe, such as Worldcon (coming up in San Antonio this coming weekend), it’s hard to find locations where the science fiction writer in me feels at home. It’s easy to go where people love fantasy, and perhaps – just perhaps – mumble behind their hand that they read science fiction. Maybe they say they read ‘it’ when they were younger. But this year I found a new place where fantasy is mumbled about and brings a blush to the cheeks, while the faces of SF gurus show up in PowerPoint slides.

the-diamond-deep-by-brenda-cooperI already fit into the World Future Society based on my avocation as a futurist. It’s a thing I do because there is no more important
conversation. I talk to groups about the future and I write non-fiction about the future and I write science fiction about the future.

I had not, however, attended a conference.

But this year I did.

No one asked why I wasn’t writing urban fantasy instead of that rocket stuff.

I watched talks that described generational attitudes towards business and the future of jobs, others that proclaimed the singularity is still coming in all of its Vingeian glory and we soon be transported to a land made of carbon and diamond, a fast land where we are all computers. I heard people debate the balance between technology and human spirituality, and listened to tough talks about grappling with climate change. Best of all, I attended at least three talks that directly mentioned us – people in my own science fiction lineage – from Heinlein to Niven to Brin to Asimov. I missed a talk that was all about the pundits of science fiction – it happened while I was giving my own talk about how we’re backing ourselves into a position where we’re going to have to micromanage what wildness is left to us. One of our own sf writers – Ramez Naam – gave a keynote addresses.

Twice, people introduced me as a ‘famous’ science fiction writer. In our world, in the world of Worldcons and Orycons and Norwescons I’m not, really. I’m solidly in the pack, but still running behind the leaders. But there, at the World Future Society, I was a walking-talking-breathing New York published science fiction author. It was really a fun thing to be.

The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper

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No one asked why I wasn’t writing urban fantasy instead of that rocket stuff.

It was a lovely convention. Not perfect – the demographic is about like our own sf and fantasy conventional world – a little bit older and whiter than the rest of the US, and a little more male than female, and truth be told, more likely to talk about books written by men than about books written by women. But almost everyone there was enthusiastic, sharp, curious, and able to hold down a fascinating conversation.

I came away with new friends, a ton of fresh ideas that will filter into my world building when I do near-future SF, a few new science fiction writers to read (really!), and a resolve to go back.

Next year, the World Future Society meets in Orlando, and the theme of the convention is core to science fiction: ‘What if?’ There’s talk of a science fiction focus for part of the conference. Consider joining us! It will surely be fun. If you come and you say you read or write science fiction, no one will turn away, refusing to meet your eyes while they mumble, ‘That’s nice, dear,’ in low tones.

Written by Brenda Cooper

Brenda Cooper

Brenda is a technology professional, a science fiction writer and a futurist. Her most recent novel, The Creative Fire, came out in November 2012 from Pyr. The sequel, The Diamond Deep, wich completes this duology, will be out in October of 2014. As a futurist, she has worked with Glen Hiemstra for over ten years. Brenda gives talks about the future, technology, and writing. She blogs regularly at and periodically guest-blogs at and other venues.

  • linda merkens August 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    My friend, you are always the top pro to me.
    luv u,

  • Ed August 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I am a complete “con” virgin, though I have been a fan of science fiction and speculative fiction and alternative history for as long as I have been reading. And as a history major (reluctantly embraced after first dabbling in engineering and almost completing a math major), I have a strong “factual” basis for a conversation about the future. But Orlando? In July? That is one of only three non-rain months in the Pacific Northwest! Maybe in 2015.


  • Julianna August 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    The convention sounds fabulous! I will definitely look into attending next year – I’ve got lots of relatives in Florida and the Con as a built-in excuse not to visit too long with them. Thanks for blogging about it! :)

  • Brenda Cooper August 27, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    It really is an interesting place — both resonant with a science fiction con and also very much it’s own thing as well. I will be in Orlando.

  • Brenda Cooper August 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Oh … and a tiny correction – Diamond Deep will be out in 2013 — in a few weeks now. I think that was me fat-fingering it. :)

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