Jessica Charlesworth and Tim Parsons characterize science fiction in 2014
Jessica Charlesworth and Tim Parsons characterize science fiction in 2014
April 17

Faculty Members and Speculative Design Leaders Featured in the Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune writer Christopher Borelli consults Designed Objects faculty members Jessica Charlesworth and Tim Parsons—“leading figures in the hot field of speculative design”—in “Why Sci-fi Is Obsessed with the Near Future,” published on April 15. In the article, Borelli argues that the science fiction of 2014 is less focused on distant futures, and more so on visions of the “almost-now.” “That seems to be the new benchmark in science fiction: Rather than dream of possibilities too expensive or abstract to picture, the genre, and perhaps the audience, wants its flying cars now,” Borrelli says. Charlesworth, who assigns classic science fiction readings “to spur imaginations,” instructs students to consider future possibilities 10 to 15 years in the future, not 100 or 200 years off. "What I try to [instill] in students is that you have no idea the potential of a technology by just looking at whatever it is now,” she explains. “The science fiction I like is more about almost-now, with small variables made to the look of the world to let us know it's the future: Things changed, but the world is fundamentally the world."