“For several years I had tried to write about my father, but had gotten nowhere, probably because the subject was too close to my life, and thus not so easy to force into another form, which of course is a prerequisite for literature. That is its sole law: everything had to submit to form. If any of literature’s other elements are stronger than form, such as style, plot, theme, if any of these overtake form, the result suffers. That is why writers with a strong style often write bad books. That is also why writers with strong themes so often write bad books. Strong themes and styles have to be broken down before literature can come into being. It is this breaking down that is called ‘writing.’ Writing is more about destroying than creating.”
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle
"Fiction about the near future, as many people have noted, is most often like a funhouse mirror of the present. It distorts and exaggerates our current fears and preoccupations; it takes current trends and pushes them as far as they’ll go without breaking down into incoherence. It’s science fiction in its most purely satirical mode. Like costume drama films, it contains the fingerprints of the time in which it was composed. It doesn’t go out of date; it loses context. It’s also becoming more and more difficult to do, as the present increasingly becomes its own self-engulfing parody.
"Fiction about the far future, on the other hand, digs deep into the past. Given all the problems of attempting to predict the near-future - black swans, non-linear dynamics, the law of unintended consequences - it certainly makes no sense in consciously trying to project any part of the present on to the far future. Instead, writers suggest that archetypal human narratives and historical principles will survive every kind of technological change, and reappear in different forms. James Blish’s Cities in Flight series, for instance, is underpinned by the theories of Otto Spengler. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series was inspired by Gibbons’ The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Frank Herbert’s Dune and Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun are different takes on Messianic figures. Old-school space opera, with its palaces and empires, its sword-wielding heroes and princesses, echo Hollywood’s romance with medieval history. And so on, and so forth. Like fantasy, the narratives of far-future science fiction are shaped by patterns of Story. Unless you believe, like those who champion the technological Singularity (aka Rise of the Machines, or the Rapture of the Nerds), that the far future lies on the other side of an intellectual event horizon. That the far future will not only be impossible to predict, but also impossible to comprehend. That it is an end to Story and the heat death of science fiction, and we cannot utter a single syllable about what follows. But where’s the fun in that?"