Technique and Politics in Hard SF

In his famous Harper’s piece,“Perchance to
Dream: Reasons to Write Novels in an Age of Images”, the now oft-discussed
Jonathan Franzen articulates his personal motivation for writing literature
in an age where the most powerful media is not print but image-based technology
like TV and film. He starts out the description of a retreat from the world
— a world that his persona in the essay feels has gone mad. He writes:
“I began to think that the most reasonable thing for a citizen to
do might be to enter a monastery and pray for humanity.” This, from
a man who describes his connections with the outside world as “the
twin portals of my TV set and my New York Times subscription.” He
decants nightmares of a Silicon Valley VR-helmet plague, and derides rampant