11 Fictional glimpses of the Boston of tomorrow

Futures past
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  August 8, 2011

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The history of the future is not long. The idea of it — of the future as a place, distinct from what we know — seems to have arisen as a storytelling device only around the Age of Enlightenment. But the genre only seriously got going after the Industrial Revolution. As mills were built, rivers polluted, and forests stripped, people were able to see for the first time the massive, lasting change they could have on their environment. Wondering what would come next was only natural.

So it makes sense that two of the earliest science-fiction stories were written in — and about — Boston.

"I would argue that Boston is the most engineered city in the world," says Future Boston contributor David A. Smith (read our interview with the FuBos creators here). From the filling-in of the Back Bay to the excavation of the Big Dig, Bostonians have transformed the very topography of their city to suit their whims. "They keep doing this stuff," Smith says, "and it just doesn't stop."

And it didn't.

Again and again, science-fiction writers have re-engineered, rebuilt, and re-invented the Boston of the future. From giant utopian pyramids to the Great Concavity, from zombie warfare to the Red Sox losing — again — we present a brief history of the futures of Boston.

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  Topics: Books , Science Fiction, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King,  More more >
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