Scifi Prototyping

“[A science fiction prototype is] a short story, movie or comic based specifically on a science fact for the purpose of exploring the implications, effects, and ramifications of that science or technology.” —Brian David Johnson, Science Fiction Prototyping: Designing the Future with Science Fiction

Science fiction has long been a laboratory for ideas. The exploratory feature of SF usually takes a back seat to its function as entertainment—but not with science fiction prototypes. These are deliberate investigations couched in fictional form, and are suitable when the subject isn’t the development of one technology or trend (such as semiconductor design) but the intersection of multiple complex change drivers. It would have been difficult or impossible to predict Facebook by extrapolating computer network design in the 1970s. But by dramatizing the intersection of networks with people’s social lives, John Brunner did this and more in his groundbreaking 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider.

I’ve been called upon to write science fiction prototypes for clients such as the Canadian and American armies, various government agencies, and corporations such as Intel. Often, these are collaborative efforts with high public profiles, such as Intel’s Developer Forums (http://readwrite.com/2012/09/11/intel-dabbles-in-science-fiction) or Project Hieroglyph (http://hieroglyph.asu.edu/).

Short works: “Degrees of Freedom”

Published in September, 2014, the anthology Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future (http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062204691/hieroglyph) netted a great response (http://hieroglyph.asu.edu/category/press/). As the author of “Degrees of Freedom,” a story about the future of government, I helped secure an invitation for a number of us contributors to consult at the White House in October 2014.

“Degrees of Freedom” draws together threads from cognitive science, computing, sociology and conflict resolution studies to envision a new form of government, democratic, inclusive and designed for the 21st century.

Longer pieces: Crisis in Zefra and Crisis in Urlia

Crisis in UrliaI have published two short novels for the Canadian military on the future of command & control and military operations. The first, Crisis in Zefra, came out in 2005; more recently, Crisis in Urlia was published in Spring, 2014. It explores the future evolution of military command structures in an increasingly chaotic and decentralized environment.

You can download Crisis in Urlia in its entirety for free. (http://publications.gc.ca/site/archivee-archived.html?url=http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2014/mdn-dnd/D2-324-2013-eng.pdf)

Explore Your Future Potential

You can search for hidden opportunities, uncover unrecognized threats and discover entirely new business models by harnessing the power of fictional exploration. Such productions have the additional virtue of being highly readable and easily communicated and remembered. Our rates are reasonable and we can turn projects around quickly.