Last year, 2014, there was one film - Her by Spike Jonze- and one book - The Circle by Dave Eggers- that I think should be perceived in context. Both pieces point to near future Science Fiction scenarios that are much different (because much closer to our life) than your classic Science Fiction movie or book. I found this proximity makes both Her and The Circle even more unsettling than regular Science Fiction classics such as maybe Terminator or Fahrenheit 451.
"Science fiction talks about things that could happen. In science fiction, the dragon is a genetically engineered construct created from re-engineered dinosaur DNA to service a theme park of the future. Whose coffers you are probably trying to rob because of your exotic drug habit. So, the dragon’s security protocols activate and it attacks you."
With this contemporary wave of Near Future Science Fiction, the genre becomes a bit more realistic, yet fictious, less dragon-y. Another example from 2011 is the Channel4 series Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker. Black Mirror deals with the deep and mostly dark impacts of technology on human life in such a subtle way that each episode opens multiple references and questions related to our present use of technology and its impact.
New York Times writer Jenna Wortham concludes:
“Black Mirror” falls somewhere in between its predecessors, equal parts horror and wonder, somewhere in the uncanny valley between our world and one dominated by Skynet.
It looks like a future we might actually inhabit, making the show a lot more effective as a critique of the tech industry’s trajectory — one that might make you think twice about which devices you buy and which services you use.
Why has Science Fiction with the highest proximity to our time the biggest impact on me? I can clearly remember the impact of Westworld, 2001 or The Fly. But these were movies so far from a lived reality. Is it because I am older today? Is it because technology plays a much much bigger role in our lives than in the olden days?
It also feels that past Science Fiction has pretty much imagined any sort of utopia and dystopia we can think of so far. And maybe we live in an age where technology is developing in such a high pace that its multiple implications can be felt and experienced in a lifetime. Scary?