Here is a very real and true thing: 2017 is making it really hard to be a science fiction writer. To be sure, these times — by which I mean the Trump era to date, let’s go ahead and avoid cutesy winking allusions — are making it hard for lots of writers, not just the ones who write science fiction. It’s difficult to focus on writing, particularly fiction, when the world feels like it’s on fire and everyone you know is trying to decide between hiding in a hole or taking up recreational alcoholism to get by. The rapid-fire pace of events is such that you (or at least I) end up sitting at the computer sort of paralyzed. In the last few weeks we’ve had (in no particular order) the healthcare vote, hurricane Scaramucci, North Korea and racists marching with Tiki torches like the domestic terrorists they are. One straight up ran a car into a crowd, and the president bent over backward to say somehow everyone’s at fault for that one. You’re worried that if you get up to have a snack by the time you get back we’ll have declared war on, oh, I don’t know, Venezuela, which by the way we apparently almost kinda did. That anyone gets anything done these days is a minor miracle, snuggled deep inside the larger miracle that in fact we are all still here. But as a science fiction writer, things are even more complicated. Trade secret here: Science fiction is commonly considered the literature of the future, but more often than not it’s about today. Yes, the events that take place in it (usually) happen in the future, and often feature technology or characters that don’t exist. We don’t have warp engines or transporters or aliens or robots that have learned to love, no matter how fond you are of Siri. The world is never not catching up with science fiction, for better or worse. The thing is, science fiction has its setting in the future, but the people writing it and reading it live now, and the stories they’re writing and reading reflect the hopes and fears of whatever age the story is written in. There’s a reason science fiction literature of the late ’60s and early ’70s was about overpopulation, why in the ’80s cyberpunk reflected the uncertainty about the accelerating