Probable Futures

“Improbable Futures,” the last chapter in Better to Have Loved (2002), is derived from an interview given by Judith Merril for a documentary six months before her death in 1997.

I was 26. As an unjustly-mocked pen pal of mine put it, a naïf.

Twenty-two years later and it reads as if it were written yesterday: nothing much has changed for the better and many things have changed for the worse, all along a predictable path. Is there anyone with the will and imagination to see a way out of this impasse that doesn’t lead through the apocalypse?

There was a time, reading Neuromancer (1984) perhaps, or Red Mars (1992), when I imagined that corporate feudalism would be fine and dandy enough to desire. Now it seems entirely psychopathic. Not unlike, I suppose, the stylish allure of Nationalsozialismus (1924-present).

Everyone always imagines themselves as noble knights and ladies. No one imagines themselves the peasant or the slave.

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