Back to the (Near) Future


Oct 21st, 2015 – Thirty years to the day after Doc Brown took Marty McFly to the future – I’m in a dome practicing for a trip to Mars. Sadly, we are doing this without the assistance of hoverboards (for now). Happily, our pockets are still in our pants. Strangely, the six of us simulated astronauts are not really space travelers. Instead, we are time travelers.

In many ways, our external clocks stopped on August 28th, 2015. We haven’t seen a movie that has come out since then – including, ironically, The Martian. Most of us haven’t heard any music released after that date. News? We get some occasionally. It’s mostly science-related (or medicine-related in my case. Yes, I am that geeky: I gotta read those flu shot recommendations even in space). With the kind assistance of ground control, some of us watch a TV show now and then (mostly John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight). As for the rest… memes? What’s taking over the internet right now? The latest iPhones? The year’s hottest Android apps? Policy changes, presidential races, protests, mass petitions, Academy Awards, fires, floods, drought, disasters, marriages, divorces, reformation, reconstruction. These events live exclusively in your present, vibrant and humming with gravitas for a moment before they flicker into the past. At the same time, it’s all in our future. We’ll hear about it, see it, be amused or horrified about it sometime after August 28th, 2016.

It’s kind of fun to imagine the world you all are living in – most especially, the ways in which it will surprise me ten months from now. I’ve had a taste of this before. To my complete surprise, it doesn’t take long – no more than a few weeks, in fact – before you can find yourself living in —> Read More