redshifted_250_finalVisionaries are important in shaping the future. This is because any change in society, or any invention, has to be imagined before it can become reality. Once some concept has been described in any way—say through an oral tradition, a book or a film–then it has achieved a certain reality, and people can set out to build it.

This kind of visionary literature has been named “science fiction” within the last century or so. It has a bad reputation, maybe, based on poor production techniques and an unfortunate association with geeky engineers in coke-bottle glasses and ill-fitting white shirts with ink stains on the pockets. Other associations include green aliens landing in crude-looking flying saucers and stealing away swooning pin-up girls. However, regardless of this pulp reputation, a number of impressive visions came out of the “golden age” of science fiction. These include Jules Verne’s vision of submarines in Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1870), his vision of space flight in From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and his vision of a helicopter in Robur the Conqueror (1886). Although it took a few years for these visions to become commercially viable, their reality was assured as soon as Verne published his books.

One important recurring vision in science fiction is travel to other worlds. Endless generations of humans have looked at the stars and wondered what it would be like to fly there. These visions were realized in 1969 with the first flight to the moon, and now Elon Musk of Space-X, reportedly inspired by Isaac Asimov, means to make travel to Mars a reality. This romantic notion has inspired a whole new crop of science fiction related to the planet Mars. For example, Redshifted from Third Flatiron Anthologies is available (either in e-book or print format) from your favorite bookstore. Indulge the vision.

Full disclosure: The author of this article has a short story appearing in the anthology entitled “The Journal of Miss Emily Carlton.”

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Juliana Rew on Twitter: @julirew