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The Hieroglyph Reading List: Tell Us Your Favorite Visions of the Future

A few days ago, a Hieroglyph community member directed our attention to a poster in their library called The History of Science Fiction, by the artist Ward Shelley. In the image, Shelley maps the genealogy of science fiction and all of its branches and sub-genres to create a tentacled amoeboid. It’s exactly the kind of thing our staff geeks out over.

Our friends over at Slate published a wonderful interview with Shelley a while back, wherein he describes his process for creating the map and his discovery that the development of science and the science fiction stories that describe it are frequently linked. Certainly, this notion is at the core of Project Hieroglyph – how we might engineer the future through the stories we tell today and how science fiction sometimes translates to science fact at an increasingly incredible rate. Some of the ideas put forth in the Hieroglyph anthology and this very website are amazingly prescient while some others might be closer than we think, as we wait for technology to catch up with our imaginations.

The good news is that there’s no lack of imagination or sources of inspiration. Over on the Project Hieroglyph forums, our community is talking about the stories, books, and fictional universes that have shifted our perspectives and might act as a launch pad for future innovation. We’ve compiled a great list so far, including volumes from Stephen Baxter, Ursula LeGuin, and Shirō Masamune…in addition to the many requisite mentions of The Foundation Trilogy (yes, it’s worth every ringing endorsement).

It’s a great start to be sure, but as Shelley’s poster demonstrates, science fiction is an expansive genre and we’ve only just begun. That’s why we’re looking for your help. For the next few weeks, the Hieroglyph team will be crowdsourcing a list of inspiring science fiction stories. We’re not necessarily looking for a top 100 list, but rather a discussion of books and stories with ideas so grand that they haunt our imagination with possibility. After all, some of the most thrilling and unexpected ideas and visions of the future might appear in books that never crack the “best of” lists.

We invite you to join the conversation and share your opinions with the rest of the wise and well-read Hieroglyph community. Tell us why our omission of Zelazny is so egregious or why we need to get our hands on everything by Octavia Butler right now. It’s a fun discussion with fellow science fiction readers, and you’ll no doubt emerge with more suggestions to add to your “to-read” stack. Plus, everyone who contributes to our growing list will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the Project Hieroglyph anthology just for weighing in.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, or just head over to the forums, and start sharing today!


Photo courtesy of Wonderlane, used under a Creative Commons license.






One response to “The Hieroglyph Reading List: Tell Us Your Favorite Visions of the Future”

  1. daniel halevi bloom Avatar
    daniel halevi bloom

    A rather dark cli-fi short story but worth reading, just to see what others are thinking:

    ”A Letter to Year 2499”

    by Dan Bloom


    Note to readers: This text came in the mail the other day, and I am not sure whether to publish it here as fiction or nonfiction as the author of the piece did not tell me her wishes. It reads to me like fiction, like the beginning of a cli fi novel she has planned. She didn’t tell me much about the story or her plans for it, but here is the text as she sent it to me, with just some slight edits for clarity for those readers new to the cli-fi genre.
    LINK: –