Issue 31 / 2007


31 / Imagining the Future

From the outlandish to the pragmatic—what's to come?

By 2025, “devouring a book” may be more than a figure of speech. Books will be consumable products—in digestible pill forms, as injections and even as beef jerky, according to predictions in Imagining the Future. This issue brings together voices from across the publishing spectrum—from novelists and journalists to librarians and editors—all of them speculating about the ways literature and the business of writing will change in the coming decades. From the outlandish to the pragmatic, the writers find common ground as they marvel at the way technology has ushered in a new era of communication.

In “Best of Times, Worst of Times,” Phillip Lopate conjures up versions of books that will meet the needs of humanity in 2025; Donna Seaman, in “Netting the Future,” contemplates our evolving relationship with the Internet; Amy Stolls calculates that according to recent trends, 87% of the population will claim “writer” as an occupation by 2025.

“Imagining the Future” includes seventeen intriguing essays from across the literary landscape and six elegant and thought-provoking illustrations created by Little Kelpie, a creative studio in Pittsburgh. A “Readings” section includes four longer essays plus a profile of Gay Talese.

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