Friday, January 2, 2009

SF as décor: a 2003 interview with Bruce Sterling

“Meet Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk novelist, rogue futurist, and hardcore design junkie, who argues that the cultural mirage we call the future is desperately in need of an upgrade. ...”

Shortly after his nonfiction book Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2002) was published, Dwell magazine had an opportunity to sit down with Bruce Sterling and
talk about dwellings of the future. Portions of the conversation
were published in “Nothing Obsolesces Like the Future,” an interesting article from the magazine's May 2003 issue. Here’s a snippet from the interview:
Mark Dery: Since Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years is a wild-eyed work of extreme speculation, let’s talk interiors. Do you remember being particularly struck by any science-fiction interior, such as those dreamlike Martian homes in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles?

Bruce Sterling: Yeah, I’m always watching science fiction for its décor. Especially the doors. Science fiction can’t leave doors alone, for some reason. In the early Star Trek episodes, spaceship doors would slide into the walls with this awesome
“sweeooosh” noise, dubbed in because in reality the high-tech superdoors got manually heaved back and forth by some muscular hireling on the set. In a Robert A. Heinlein novel, a door dilates open like an iris. It’s a classic sci-fi image. Star Wars movies are full of giant rumbling fortress doors ten times bigger than they need to be. In Philip K. Dick novels, inanimate domestic objects like doors talk aloud and demand money for opening and shutting. ...
Bruce Sterling's lastest novel, The Caryatids, will be published in February 2009.

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