Archive for May 18, 2015


Recently I read a short story, Waterspider, by Philip K. Dick, which was part of a collection, The Minority Report and other classic stories.

The reason I write this piece is that, in past posts, I have threatened to write a piece about science fiction writers and how, through their imaginations, predicted science fact. I’m still going to do it, with Arthur C. Clarke at the top of my list. However, Philip K. Dick beat me to the punch in a fascinating short story, Waterspider.

In Dick’s short story, the present is the future and scientists have sent a mission of volunteer prisoners into space, reducing their mass. The problem is, they don’t know how to restore the ship’s mass and its one-inch tall occupants upon arrival to their destination. Apparently, even in the future, some things never change.

However, the scientists remember a period in the past when people, known as pre-cogs, existed. The debate was whether the first pre-cog was Jonathan Swift or H.G. Wells. I’m surprised Jules Verne was not in the running. These individuals have the ability to predict the technology of the future, and one of them predicted a solution to mass recovery. These pre-cogs, with this ability unknown to them, were science fiction writers. The present-future scientists were able to travel to the past and decide to bring Poul Anderson, who, in a short story solved this problem.

These future scientist journey back in time to a convention of science fiction writers and meet a host of pre-cogs, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, along with a shy Philip K. Dick.

To say the least, this story blew me away. I encourage you to read it, if you can find it.

May 18, 2015 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment


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