Design Fiction Chronicles: The Future Issue of The Book and iPad

The Future Issue

In a project we’re currently undertaking that has allowed us to work through and figure out the future of the photo book I was compelled to read through this book called “The Most Beautiful Swiss Books” and the 2009 edition is called “The Future Issue.”

I like the play on words there and didn’t see it until just now.

The Future Issue.’s the issue from 2009, because this is an annual. But, the future is an issue to consider. Get it? Well..I didn’t until my coffee took hold.

There are a few relevant passages in here on design, the future of reading and publishing and that sort of thing.

* Everyone seems to be considering the iPad. This book was published after the iPad was announced but before it was made available. There should be a follow on to the points made in there. Maybe I’ll do that. Follow up with the critics and ask them. There is the usual bulwark, which is to say that there is something about the tangibility and materiality of the book that is precious, seminal and defines book. Something that people would still want.

Other points related to iPad-mania were to indicate the distinction between book-dedicated readers like Kindle and platforms like iPad in that there is always something available with the iPad to do other than read, which can pose distractions like..*shrug..why not check email now?

There was some excitement about the evolution of book design in the pad-electronic form. What compliments and extends paper, pages, binding and all that.

* And then there was the wonderful canonical reference to 2001 – A Space Odyssey which made me very happy. I had never noticed in the movie poster that there is an iPad, which was referred to as a Newspad in the book upon which the film was based. Bonus design fiction future issues!

There's an iPad in the 2001: A Space Odyssey movie poster

* Mention was made to Wim Wenders seeking opinion on the extinction of movies in the context of the intrusion of television. Would books suffer the same fate as movies did when television appeared?

* Perhaps the most vibrant short essay questioned the phrase The future of. Something called “Experimental Jetset” — a collective of Graphic Designers in Amsterdam wrote that they dislike the three words “The future of..” saying they find “something about the phrase that completely puts us off.”

What bothers us most is the suggestion that the future is an unchangeable entity, something that develops completely independent of ourselves. A pre-determined path, to which we should adapt ourselves, whether we like it or not..

‘Our future’, is something that is manageable, shapeable, changeable, buildable, doable. ‘A future’ sounds pretty decent as well. A plural ‘the futures’? Why not? Just as long as we can get rid of the idea of the future as something that governs us, like some kind of pre-modern deity. Let us be reckless about it: we govern the future, not the other way around.

Perhaps this is the most encouraging perspective in the essays of the book, tucked neatly in near obscurity amongst the two other possible opinions: (1) veiled conceit for the iPad/nostalgic death-grip on the smell of leather, the artisinal bookbinders craft, &c.; (2) curious exuberance for this evolution in the rituals of reading.

Why do I blog this? Notes on opinions about the evolution of book writing, making and the cultural evolutions of reading and publishing practices. Plus the bonus design fiction chronicle on the iPad in 2001!
Continue reading Design Fiction Chronicles: The Future Issue of The Book and iPad

Design Fiction at UC Calgary's Environmental Design: A First Go At Design Fiction Genre Conventions

Friday November 19 07:02

From awhile ago, back at the end of last year I went to UC Calgary’s Environmental Design and presented a further iteration of the design fiction business. I realized I hadn’t put down on paper or on this blog some thoughts from the presentation — but mostly thoughts about what design fiction can do.

Just in terms of process, my basic routine is to extend the thinking in steps, using commitments to travel and give a talk or facilitate a workshop as the motivation to move the general thinking a bit further. Where it’s going is oftentimes vague sometimes — but generally it’s just a kind of extending conversation that helps me and I hope others think about the opportunities for collapsing design and science, fact and fiction together into a productive muddle.

In this talk I set the usual frame — placing science fiction alongside of science fact and leveraging David Kirby’s work on the diegetic prototype — the prototype that does more than an engineering or technical or instrumental prototype. ((That may be my emphasis to say that it does more — or a conceit on my part.)) The exemplary diegetic prototype is revealed through Minority Report — the film — and the role that John Underkoffler played in the technical design and technical production of the film’s gestural interface. Despite the challenges of such a system in practice, Underkoffler was able to work through technical issues pertaining to such an interface mechanism through the context of the film’s story. He had a basis upon which the interface would be employed in the future of P.K. Dick’s world of 2050. Moreover the film’s popularity and just its existence provided a way of circulating the concept of this specific kind of gestural interface. The film and the fictional technology that Underkoffler proposed and demonstrated in the film became a way of leveling-up the idea — giving it some exceptional circulation. In effect, the film became the logical extension of the M.I.T. Media Lab’s mantra of demo, demo, demo — or demo-or-die.

This is the stock presentation I’ve given on design fiction. Early on — I think the first time I explicated all this stuff was in Amsterdam where I gave a talk at the Sandburg Instituut Master Course during Halloween in 2008 — I was trying perhaps not successfully to integrate film clips as a way of describing the importance of the story, rather than just objects or props. That is — during that particular presentation in Amsterdam — I showed unusually long film clips. So — the first 3 minutes of Minority Report, for example. Let’s watch that and allow the cool technology to be part of a story that is more about humans as social beings and this lets the tech become social too — it’s not just a doorknob sitting by itself. It’s also a social-instrument, an artefact that has a role to play in this particular drama. What Spielberg is able to do is introduce the technology to us — it’s just a prop — without making the whole film *just about the gesture technology or even the pre-cogs, or the slick environmental advertising, or the jet packs. They are there, of course — but that’s not what the story is about, any more than the Maltese Falcon was about a statue of a falcon from Malta. The statuette was a prop — a way of spinning the story about a couple of crooked crooks.

The purpose was to give a larger context for the gestural interface rather than just its use in the 30 or 40 seconds we see it in the beginning of the film. I wanted to give the device a role and a purpose — an instrument that’s used routinely. I wanted to shift it from being a spectacle to being just an ordinary albeit sophisticated bit of technical kit. Just in the same way that a microscope in a forensics-heavy police procedural television show is not fetishized as a prop or device in that sort of story, neither should be the gestural interface in Minority Report — even though to our eyes as viewers, at least at the first screening, it is quite extraordinary. The point is that the film makes the device quite ordinary and routine. This is John Anderton just going about his business as a savvy, street-smart, afflicted cop. It just happens to be a future world to us, with all its trappings of things extraordinary.

From this I began thinking about the conventions, stylings, idioms and techniques that make the future seem like today. How do you make the extraordinary appear ordinary and quotidian? This seems to be an important way of depicting the future and making it seem possible. It’s just a way of designing — an understatement of perhaps novel, innovative and crazy ideas from the future. Why do this? Because in a way this is part of the work of design innovation. To make something spectacular routine, domesticated (to borrow from James Auger) and perhaps even boring and everyday. When you can do this, you’ve turned a corner into a new space that provides a setting for a kind of innovation that is chaste and modest and thereby, perhaps — entirely possible. This then communicates your innovative, crazy, off-the-hook idea as legible and something which can already be accomplished.

Thursday November 18 15:20

There’s much in the social, cultural and political history of science and innovation on the topic of modesty as a mode of conveying and communicating an idea. Scientists are especially guilty of this mode of communication — behaving only as unadorned and modest presenters of things-as-facts. Just revealing nature as it is. Simon Schaffer and Steven Shapin’s Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life and especially Schaffer’s A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) speak much on this topic. I think here I’ve internalized their insights and tried to find ways to leverage the modest proposal of a new, speculative idea — as was the air-pump in its time — as a way to communicate it convincingly. In part design fiction is about communicating a new idea, but of course it is also, perhaps mostly, about actually doing design through the modes and idioms of science fiction.

This way of presenting an idea and enrolling people in it is described quite convincingly by Shapin and Schaffer. It’s really an important read in this regard. It’s a great historical book. I seem to re-read it every few years because it’s almost tactical in its description of how ideas become materialized and circulated. It’s certainly much more thorough and convincing than popular surveys of how ideas evolve and develop — I kept thinking about how loosey-goosey Stephen Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation end up being for its lack of rigor and its desperate hunt for a simple one-liner — this whole adjacent possible. It reads like a nursery rhyme that forgets that its okay that the world is an intractable complex and entangled place. ((G’aah. I’m all riled up now. I’ll get back to that one later.))

Thursday November 25 09:30
Thursday November 25 09:31

Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know. It sounds very vocational, but I find the idea of a catalog of ways of telling visual stories compelling. It would be nice to create a similar sort of thing for design fiction, I think. This is what is next.

Anyway — so what I’m trying to do now with the whole design fiction business is catalog a series of genre conventions — ways in which one can describe an idea or an object or a bit of thinking. How do we show ideas as they would be in the world? Or as they come to be? I’m thinking about mostly visual stories — little films or proper films, but mostly little films because they can be produced, we have a pre-existing language of visual story telling and now I’m convinced that that language can be used to also do the work of designing. What I and others are talking about is using film/visual explications as a means of prototyping and, perhaps more importantly — designing. It shouldn’t be just a way of showing a concept but also a way to feedback into the design process — or it should be a part of the design process, not just a final demonstration. They should be made in such a way that thinking is going on while they are being made. One should pay attention to lessons being taught by the little filmmaking process because effectively, then — you are also doing design, just with fiction which allows more freedom in the explorations.

Why do I blog this? Well — I’m doing a few design fiction workshops later this summer and fall and it seems like film is a viable way to think through how to set the scene for a near future world, or little moment of that world. It would be quite nice to do a workshop that included film making as the “hands-on” work part of the workshop. It actually takes a lot to think through things if you’re making a little movie, even a super little one. But, things get even more intriguing when the making of the film is actually part of the design process itself — allowing the extra work to be more than communicating the idea, but actually informing it quite directly. Some of the little films we’ve made in the studio were exceptionally useful to shape and challenge notions that work quite well in conversation, or on the screen or on big posters. It’s when things go in the hand and become materialized that you start to discover something about the design that needs more help to make its way into people hands.
Continue reading Design Fiction at UC Calgary's Environmental Design: A First Go At Design Fiction Genre Conventions

Primer: Inexplicable Ideas In Design Fiction

Something that the almost inscrutable science-fiction film Primer does quite well is to paint enough of the contours of its science and technology to give the viewer the sense that *something is going on that should make perfectly good sense..if I was only a bit more techo-literate in the arcane minutia of quantum mechanics, time travel and so on.

Early on we see the DIY garage tinkerers/hackers/engineers working on a proof-of-concept of…something. They’re in their *garage, and that’s where weird, misunderstood, works-of-passion happen, at least in the American suburbs _ like garage bands, garage science is populated in the cultural imaginary as where real, dyed-in-the-wool innovation happens. (Much like the time-travel science/design-fiction in How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe, as it turns out.)

The scene above is a favorite. We watch a device of some sort — small, exposed printed-circuit board, with a LCD numerical display that changes on a little bit. Car batteries for power; roughly hewn bread boards. Shaking assemblies; slight bits of panic and confusion. Something is happening here, and you can only watch the visual story as it unfolds to fill in the gaps. The setting makes it all seem much more possible — garage, a couple of guys discussing their work in the vernacular of…whatever they’re working on. And somehow this makes it seem honest — it’s not didactic like some techoscience-based science-fiction — or even documentaries. We’re not meant to completely understand the quantum physics here, even if it were understandable. When the story telling becomes too didactic, it loses something. It should be as complex as it would be, and possibly completely impossible for anyone to understand but the six people in the world who are working on it, like String Theory or some such.

In an interview with the director:

From the start, he wanted his dialogue to sound absolutely authentic. The only way to accomplish this goal was to immerse himself in the study of physics — the shared fixation of his characters — until he became “conversant” in it. “I had never taken a physics course,” recalls [screenwriter/director/co-star] Carruth. “but I read a lot about it and consulted graduate student research projects I had found online.” In the movie, conversations among the characters are extremely realistic: they talk to each other using the kind of techno-speak that would come naturally to work-obsessed scientists.

The film itself is intriguing for its story and how its told on the screen, but also for the production. Shane Carruth — writer, director, film score, co-star, &c. — is an engineer who wanted to tell a story and so learned how to do so by teaching himself filmmaking. Done on the cheap — $7000 according to IMDB — it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004 and a $20,000 prize from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for films dealing with science and technology. (That’s cool.)

Further in the interview, he describes an insight on the aesthetic of new ideas and innovation, which is of course much more rough-hewn then was typical for the canon of science-fiction. It’s all about the DIY finish — things bought at the local hard-goods store, or McMaster and cobbled together as best as one can with, oftentimes, low-budgets. Perhaps something like what Google’s first server looks like.

The inspiration for PRIMER came to Carruth at a time when he was reading books about discoveries. He observed that “whether it involved the history of the number zero or the invention of the transistor, two things stood out. First, the discovery that turns out to be the most valuable is usually dismissed as a side-effect. Second, prototypes almost never include neon lights and chrome. I wanted to see a story that was more in line with the way real innovation takes place.”

Why do I blog this? To add some additional notes to the design fiction chronicles and their attendant style conventions.

Late Edition: Nicolas Nova has pointed us to a Time Line!


Continue reading Primer: Inexplicable Ideas In Design Fiction

Design Fiction Chronicles: Before the iPad There Was the PADD

Saturday October 24, 19.35.51

Your author, considering his solution to the Kobayashi Maru during a shake-out run on a Class D starship.

There was recently a wonderful article on Ars Technica interviewing the production and prop designers for Star Trek. I highly recommend giving it a read, even if you’re not a Trekkie. What I find most curious is the creative constraints that the production design was under and their solution. With a limited budget for doing lots of physical design, they decided to draw the user interfaces, rather than assemble them from hardware like knobs and buttons and so on. The idea of a screen-based display that would change based on what it needed to do — a “soft” interface — arose.

“The initial motivation for that was in fact cost,” Okuda explained. “Doing it purely as a graphic was considerably less expensive than buying electronic components. But very quickly we began to realize—as we figured out how these things would work and how someone would operate them, people would come to me and say, ‘What happens if I need to do this?’ Perhaps it was some action I hadn’t thought of, and we didn’t have a specific control for that. And I realized the proper answer to that was, ‘It’s in the software.’ All the things we needed could be software-definable.”

Continue reading Design Fiction Chronicles: Before the iPad There Was the PADD

Design Fiction Chronicles: The Dark Knight's Ubicomp Mobile Phone Sonar

Here’s that scene from The Dark Knight where Batman has secretly installed a surveillance system that traces the legal, moral and ethical contours iconic to ubiquitous computing networked devices of this sort. What’s going on — as explained in the short bit of dialog — is that all of the mobile phones used by all of Gotham’s citizens have been secretly connected to this rig that is able to produce sonar-like visualizations of their surroundings to such a level of resolution that one can *see and *hear everything. Batman is asking Lucius Fox / Morgan Freeman to man the rig and listen out for The Joker and direct Batman so he can capture him and end his felonious shenanigans. Lucius plays the moralist here, drawing issue to the fact that Batman would be invading people’s privacy and, moreover, misusing the system that Lucius constructed.

As pertains the Design Fiction motif, what I enjoy about this scene is how quickly it is able to center the pertinent extradiegetic debate on surveillance technologies. Whatever one feels about ubiquitously networked devices and their implications for issues such as the possibilities for over-arching surveillance, state control, and so on — this one scene and its spit of dialogue, together with a suggestive and fairly easily explained and dramatic apparatus — together all of this is able to summon forth the debate, frame its rough contours and open up a conversation. Nice stuff.

Listening Post

Parenthetically is this device shown above. Called, suggestively, Listening Post, one might be forgiven for mistaking it for a prototype of the surveillance device in The Dark Knight which it may be, or not, or may be both a *real prototype and a probe or a propmaster’s prototype for the film. Or something. In any case, it is a sculpture done by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin. Listening Post “is an art installation that culls text fragments in real time from thousands of unrestricted Internet chat rooms, bulletin boards and other public forums. The texts are read (or sung) by a voice synthesizer, and simultaneously displayed across a suspended grid of more than two hundred small electronic screens.”

It’s quite curious and depending on what is going on in the world — lovely to listen to. When I first saw it at The Whitney in New York City it was in February of 2003 very shortly after the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster — and the tone of the snippets of chat room conversations were echoing the sentiments of that event. In a sense the device anticipates the aggregation of *chatter that comprises or can be cohered into *trends or *trending topics as the year of Twitter has made increasingly legible.

In any case, the similarity of these two devices — The Dark Knight apparatus and Hansen and Rubin’s “Listening Post” are clearly in some sort of conversation with one another, both provoking similar discussions and considerations, whether or not anyone except me is raising these points.

Why do I blog this? This is a useful example of the way a small, short scene — barely even a story — can help raise an issue to a more tangible and more legible level, making it perhaps more intriguing to grapple with abstractions like the ethics of surveillance. It provides a hook for these conversations in material form.

Design Fiction Chronicles: Brainstorm

Opening credits, which encompasses also the early moments of the first scene of Brainstorm

Well, this is one popped into my head the other day, but not for the reasons I’ll mention in this post — I’ll save the initial motivation for a post in the near future. In the meantime, while I was watching this again I found deep enjoyment in the first few minutes of the film when the viewer basically has to learn what the heck the is the technoscience of the fiction proper so they can knit it into their interpretation of the story. Sometimes the technoscience is pure MacGuffin — nothing specific, but *the device or what-have-you. Other times, it’s speculative but connected in a legible way to existing ideas, conversations or prototypical exemplars of what one sees as science/technology fiction in a film. That is, the film plays with current technology *memes, extracting, manipulating and cleverly employing them to service the story and general entertainment.
Continue reading Design Fiction Chronicles: Brainstorm

Design Fiction Chronicles – Demo and Die: RoboCop's Ed 209

Continuing the RoboCop theme — truly a prescient gem, this one. It’s got two things going on. One: a failure of technological hubris. Two: demo…and die, a quiet nod to the insane inane practice spawned by the Media Lab to be always demoing..demo..or die. Such a stupid proposition, whether it *works or not. Just do good work and don’t explode your head.

Why do I blog this? Thinking about ways of working and *demonstrating / *sharing / *communicating to an audience. What are the ways you can take an audience through to your world and way of seeing things? What are the various rhetorical, visual, prop elements that can effect the transit into another way of thinking? As *Rhys has been encouraging — what are the equivalents to the train in Harry Potter; the Wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe? Or the mechanics of establishing the new rules, the new physics of some other kind of logical universe. Thinking on this, I am now curious to gather up all of the inset graphics that play as adverts in science-fiction films that help establish the milieux of the near future worlds themselves. Do these adverts and other inset graphics play the role of establishing the ontological furniture of these stories?
Continue reading Design Fiction Chronicles – Demo and Die: RoboCop's Ed 209

Design Fiction Chronicles: Robocop + Pre-Augmented Reality Augmented Reality

An update to the Design Fiction Chronicles. This one will be familiar to most science-fiction film fans out there — RoboCop being assembled and tested in the lab. The curious point-of-view shot — allowing us to see the various moments in which RoboCop is coming into being — sets up the anticipation about what RoboCop looks like. Seeing his point-of-view makes the transition to us assuming the role of the protagonist a bit didactic, but I would guess that this is Paul Verhoeven having good fun with the hubristic lab techs and the generally technofascism he so much seems to loathe in his films (cf. Starship Troopers and Total Recall, for example.)

Why do I blog this? There’s lots to say about this sequence, but what occurs to me right now is the way that the film clearly signals a particular kind of relationship between the engineers and executives. The engineers are willing to do the spectacular technical feats at the behest of the money-and-power grubbing executives, putting these interests in applying some sort of technical instrument and making it real, as opposed to working through the complexitiies of the larger contexts in which these things touch the real, real world. Which to my mind, right now, is a familiar protocol that sounds precisely like what not particularly clear-headed folks are doing with this *Augmented Reality mishegoss. They’re walking around with a *doorknob and trying to find some cool houses that *doorknob might look cool on. What is forgotten, largely, is the house, the neighborhood, the people in the house — and so on. When *doorknob is pushed to the background, thought less of, when it becomes mundane and ordinary to a sufficient degree (all houses have *doorknobs; practically and pragmatically speaking, doorknob-less houses are weird and out of the ordinary) — then you have nothing less to do but focus on the much more curious social practices that people engage in, and therein lie the — whatever *apps (bleech..) or experiences. It’s a source of endless amusement to see demonstrations of *AR where a camera is pointed at a box of cereal flakes and some well-intentioned bus-dev-tech-geek says — *see! this app can show you what’s in the box. It’s cereal flakes, for goodness sake. I’m not saying that pointing at something and opening up that gesture to be freshly inhabited with new signals and symbols and moments of goodness, but don’t start with what the technology can do, especially when it does so so exceptionally poorly. And if I hear about Tube Stop locators one more time, my head is going to explode. If I’m a guy walking around with a fuck-off $500 device I’d rather understand why I can’t (a) read a paper map; (b) ask someone; (c) self-navigate. This seems to be a much more curious social-technical challenge that may actually shape and inform how navigation is understood and works, perhaps with some technical whizzybangery discovered in the process of understanding why people today seem so fascinated with finding the nearest TubeStop, Pub, Taco Truck, &c.

*That’s just me. I’m being snarky this morning largely because I want to find the way to invert these sorts of design discussions and lead first with experiences and practices and histories of what has become *AR rather than start with a silly discussion that begins with – *AR is inevitable; there are billions of devices with screens and cameras and CPUs.* I’ve heard all this before with *Virtual Reality — and it really doesn’t play out well for creating intriguing, engaging, habitable near future worlds.

Design Fiction Chronicles: Star Trek's Historical Time Line

Historical diorama of the Space Shuttle Enterprise alongside of the next significant space vehicle in the evolution of, you know — space travel — Zefram Cochrane’s Phoenix. A curious shift within the setting of an exhibition of many things from the Star Trek fiction.

An indulgement, visiting the Star Trek Exhibition at Hollywood and Highland the other day to just see what it was all about. Turns out, it was mostly about a few ways to get visitors to say — oh, alright.. — when it came to liberating them from $20 here and $20 there for photos, lenticular gizmos and admission. But, I think it was worth it if only because I get a blog post out of it all.

One curiosity that made me chuckle, although not entirely unexpected, I was amused at how this one component of the exhibition — a long, multi-wall science-museum style “march of history” models-in-dioramas — made a tongue-in-cheek transition in historical timelines, from the *real* to the designed future history of Star Trek.

This one particular exhibit consists of a dozen or so Enterprises throughout history, starting with two US aircraft carriers, telling of their exploits in World War II in the Pacific; the Gulf War more recently, and so on. Okay, heard of them — a factoid or two. Then, onto the Space Shuttle Enterprise, named partially at the urging of ardent Star Trek fans. A gesture befitting the strength of the story to push the imagination toward space exploration. The materialization of an aspiration in the form of composite materials, redundant computer navigation systems, enormous engines and a phalanx of command-and-control tracking systems, pilot training programs, a number of firsts-into-space for various nationalities and professions, a spectacular disaster, the normalization of space travel, an X-prize, etc., etc.

Immediately next to the Space Shuttle Enterprise — is Zefram Cochane’s Phoenix — huh? The simple descriptive text, normalizing this future history’s first faster-than-light spacecraft, made me chuckle. Cheeky and clever little cognitive shift that made this part of the exhibit fun. The displays continue on, of course — to all the various Enterprises, with allusions to their demise, Captain’s, a touch and gesture toward a defining moment in their adventures/stories/shows (getting lost forever in the Delta Quadrant, equipped with wild Romulan technology, etc.)

Space Shuttle Enterprise
Prototype Reusable Orbital Spacecraft
NASA registry OV-101
Commanders: Fred W. Haise, Jr., Joseph H. Engle

The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the prototype vehicle for NASA’s fleet of reusable orbital spacecraft. Built in the mid-1970s by North American Rockwell, the Enterprise flew a series of critical test flights in 1977. The shuttle was released in mid-air by a Boeing 747 mother ship, after which it glided to landings at the desert lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base. The Enterprise paved the way for NASA’s space shuttle program, which carried numerous scientific payloads and space probes into orbit (including the Hubble Space Telescope), as well as a large portion of the International Space Station.

Experimental Warp-Powered Spacecraft
Designer, Builder, and Pilot: Zefram Cochrane

Earth’s first faster-than-light spacecraft was built in 2063 by Zefram Cochrane and Lily Sloane. Cochrane and Sloane built the Phoenix on an abandoned nuclear base, left over after Earth’s Third World War. Cochrane piloted the Phoenix’s historic first warp flight on April 5, 2063, a short jaunt, traveling just a few light minutes. During the flight, Phoenix’s warp signature was detected by a passing Vulcan survey ship, leading directly to Earth’s first official contact with extraterrestrial life. The ship now resides in the Smithsonian Insitution.

Why do I blog this? Just following and noting various simple strategies and literary devices to create moments of fiction within a blurrily factual world. In this case the future is assumed, and the past is reimagined to bring into alignment this future fictional world. Similar in many ways to Sascha’s The Golden Institute.
Continue reading Design Fiction Chronicles: Star Trek's Historical Time Line