Author Neal Stephenson, a founder of the dystopian school of science fiction known as cyberpunk, has had a change of heart.

Stephenson now worries that the gloomy outlook he inspired may discourage students from studying science and engineering. During a lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stephenson said he is “trying to make a literary course correction” toward more optimistic fiction.

We remember the time when science fiction was the literature of optimism, and we’ve been unhappy with the turn it’s taken in recent decades. So, we welcome this news.

Stephenson is a friend of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He helped Bezos found his rocket company Blue Origin, which must count as atonement (at least in part) for his literary sins. Perhaps his experiences at Blue Origin helped bring about his more optimistic change of heart. Perhaps Stephenson will talk to Bezos about being more open about the progress he’s making at Blue Origin. Working in complete secrecy might make it easier for Blue Origin to achieve some of its business goals, but a little more openness about their goals and accomplishments would help to inspire the next generation.

Written by Astro1 on August 26th, 2012 , Blue Origin, Education

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