Video Interview: Bruce Sterling

Just as we often rely on historians to predict the future, so sometimes the wisest observers of the past are futurists. Take, for example, Bruce Sterling, one of the original cyberpunks, blogger of Wired.com’s “Beyond the Beyond”, and multiple award-winning author of well over a dozen science fiction novels, short story collections, and anthologies. But when I interviewed Sterling in a noisy corridor of the South By South West technology show in his native Austin a few weeks ago, his conversation was predictably historical -- more before the before than beyond the beyond. First we talked philosophy of history, with Sterling offering memorable takes on Bertrand Russell, Hegel, and Marx, as well as his description of himself as a “left handed fan of spaghetti communism”. And then we got into Sterling’s own reading of history, with his haunting view of the recent technological past, which he describes as “gothic high tech,” and his glimpse of the future, which he sees as a culturally chaotic condition of asynchronous communication he memorably calls “favela chic”.

 

 “Why is the future so awesome?” I asked Sterling. “The future is where we go to die,” he explained by way of approaching its sublimity. But if the future is where we go to die, then perhaps history is the place we go to live. And who better to simultaneously explain both past and future than Bruce Sterling, an atemporal writer who advises creative artists to both “refuse the awe of the future” and “refuse the reverence of the past.”              

 

—Andrew Keen

 

Watch an excerpt from Bruce Sterling and Andrew Keen's conversation:

 

 

To see Andrew Keen's  full-length video interview with Bruce Sterling, click here.

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