Getting back to McCalmont for a bit, it’s clear his big complaint is that current science fiction writers don’t attempt to deal with the future in any serious way. This suggests he thinks science fiction writers have some kind of responsibility to do this. Is that right? Or is McCalmont assuming speculative fiction writers are some kind of intellectual elite they really aren’t? Does the current crop of SF writers have the technical, scientific and/or intellectual capacity to filter any small part of technological/social/political trends and make any sense of these for the future?

I do think the expertise and is out there. Both men and women have technical degrees these days. While women may still be underrepresented in theoretical physics, there are plenty of female engineers and scientists out there who could have the inclination to write hard SF. What’s lacking, according to McCalmont, is focus. And, he says, there’s an issue of complacency. Good quality hard SF stories won’t happen unless people with the capability make the effort to get out there and write them. In addition, editors and publishers have to assign some value to the science content and not just opt for the emotional content when choosing stories to publish.