Science fiction is often described, and even defined, as extrapolative. The science fiction writer is supposed to take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intesify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future. "If this goes on, this is what will happen." A prediction is made. Method and results much resemble those of a scientist who feeds large doses for purified and concentrated food additive to mice, in order to predict what may happen to eat it in small quantities for a long time. The outcome seems almost invetitably to be cancer. So does the outcome of extrapolation....
Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive.
Predictions are uttered by prophets (free of charge); by clairvoyants (who usually charge a fee, and are therefore more honored in their day than prophets); and by futurologists (salaried). Prediction is the business of prophets, clairvoyants, and futurists. It is not the business of novelists. A novelist's business is lying. -Ursula K. Le Guin, 1969
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