Trends in Current Science Fiction part 1

I am planing a series of articles about trends in modern Science Fiction that I hope you will find interesting. I will try to describe the trend and then use examples from books and tv series as ‘evidence’.

1. Nanotechnology

Have you noticed that nanotechnology have replaced the atomic engine as the bread and butter technology of modern science fiction? In fiction we are talking of  tiny machines that often are self replicating and can put atom on atom and build almost anything.  Arthur C. Clarke might have been the first to describe nano machines in his short story The Next Tenants from 1956. It’s been portrayed as a threat to all life in different kind of grey goo scenarios,  or  as potentially biological threats like in Blood Music by Greg Bear where intelligent smaller beings ‘invade’. But the most common usage is as enhancers of technology like in shape shifting houses in a recently read book (can’t remember which one at the moment) or the smart metal in the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd or flexible military crafts like in The Quiet War or Semper Human.

When it is not used for enhancing machines it is used to enhance humans, providing longevity, self repair, additional senses, communication, weapons. Here the examples are numerous Infoquake, Worldwired, Gravity Dreams, One Jump Ahead etc

There are also examples of large living swarms of nano machines that form equally wast intelligences but more about that when we talk about Singularities in a later part of this series.

There has also  been numerous example of nanotechnology being used on television in shows like Star Trek where the Borgs used nano probes to assimilate and convert their victims like the lovely seven-of-nine, in Stargate SG-1 the Replicators is a self replicating menace that in the end defeats even the Asgards. There was also an episode in SG-1 were Colonel O’Neal was infected by a nanovirus that speed up his aging etc.

The question is how long nanotechnology is going to be science fiction? We already have nano material in every day appliances and clothing. Nanomaterials are being tested in an increasing range of treatments and drugs.

What do you think?

Index:

  1. Nanotechnology
  2. Enviromental disaster
  3. Singularity
  4. Reality TV

Source: Nanotechnology in Fiction

  • But no explains what these nanites or whatever use as a power source.

    There is sci-fi and fantasci-fi. I guess different readers set different limits on what is scientifically reasonable.

    How would these thing navigate through the blood stream for instance?

  • But no explains what these nanites or whatever use as a power source.

    There is sci-fi and fantasci-fi. I guess different readers set different limits on what is scientifically reasonable.

    How would these thing navigate through the blood stream for instance?

  • Hmm. I got a lot of things in MIRRORED HEAVENS, but no shape-shifting houses.. . no nanotech either. Some “proto-nano” makes an appearance in Book Two. . but now I’ve said TOO MUCH. . .

  • Hmm. I got a lot of things in MIRRORED HEAVENS, but no shape-shifting houses.. . no nanotech either. Some “proto-nano” makes an appearance in Book Two. . but now I’ve said TOO MUCH. . .

  • ove

    Hello David,
    You are ofcourse quite right. I was writing that late last night. Thanks for the correction, if I only could remember which book it was that had appartments that could migrate inside the house and where the houses shrank down in size during the day when people where at work.
    I have to go back in my reading list and check.

    Thanks for the comment @All_Day_SCI-fi, I have been wondering about that myself.

  • ove

    Hello David,
    You are ofcourse quite right. I was writing that late last night. Thanks for the correction, if I only could remember which book it was that had appartments that could migrate inside the house and where the houses shrank down in size during the day when people where at work.
    I have to go back in my reading list and check.

    Thanks for the comment @All_Day_SCI-fi, I have been wondering about that myself.

  • I would wonder if there was Actual Full-On Nanotech if people would need to commute in the first place. But still, cool concept . .

  • I would wonder if there was Actual Full-On Nanotech if people would need to commute in the first place. But still, cool concept . .