So, the obvious question: what am I, of all people, doing as host of this symposium? Shouldn’t I be writing about financial catastrophe or something?
The short answer is that Charlie Stross is one of my very favorite authors – one of the handful of living writers of whom I find myself wondering, “When’s his next book coming out? What’s he going to do this time?”
The long answer is that what drew me to science fiction, more than four decades ago – before I got into economics, and in fact part of the reason I went into economics – was a certain kind of possibility: the creation of fictional worlds, different from our own but not too different, as a way to play with ideas about who we are and where we’re going. And I do mean “play” – not being too serious, mixing ideas about society, economics, politics, and so on with derring-do and romance is crucial to keeping things light enough to tolerate.
And nobody does this better than Stross.