You walk into the musty room, books piled high around you. Nearly tripping over a pile of russian fairy tales, you spot a table in the corner covered dimly by the light of a few candles. Three shadowed figures surround the table in silence, all that can be heard are the scratching of pens on paper and the *click* *clack* of an old typewriter.
They are, as it is known, part of the “Department of Fictioneering”, spun out of a joke merger between the schools of engineering and creative writing at Hinterland University—the Fictioneers, as they call themselves, have taken to solving problems of design and engineering through “applied science fiction.” Just as there exist applied and theoretical physicists, applied fiction seeks to imagine possible futures and to solve the problems of today.
You, whoever you are—an aspiring architect? a computer visionary? synthetic biologist? Tired of looking into the past and ready to imagine new visions of the future, you have come today to join the Fictioneers.
Just as you sit cautiously down at the table, a timer beeps and within moments the pens stop writing and mouths start talking. They all welcome you warmly and begin sharing drafts from their writing session, taking turns to read aloud. You are whisked away by the wondrous worlds: a world where mycelium has grown to replace most meat, leather, and many other materials leading to more localized and sustainable production… a new kind of democracy that relies on decentralized decision-making without a central leader… a city without schools yet opportunities for learning at every corner…
As you leave for the night full of ideas after hours of writing and sharing—you can’t help but wonder if the glint in their eyes was merely a reflection of the candles, or something more.
Welcome to the Department of Fictioneering.