…dreading future past.

…dreading future past.

The curious and dangerous thing about dating any kind of near futuristic narrative too close to the present is that when we catch up and nothing has come to pass as was predicted, it all looks terribly embarrassing.

In the original Star Trek, the crew of the Enterprise stumbled upon a relic from Earth’s past, Khan’s spaceship from 1993 during which he ruled over a great portion of the Earth during the Eugenics War. As if to illustrate the old timey technology, someone quaintly points out the use of transistors, a technology that was already old and quaint when I watched the episode in 1993, the world having moved on to silicon chips and considerably lacking both a Eugenics War and the space travel capabilities to exile a crazed dictator into its depths (more’s the pity).

Obviously, with stories such as Back to the Future, there is a reason for those dates because it must remain within Marty’s lifespan, but differences here can be waived as having diverged as time is famously mutable in that trilogy.

Less mutable are pure science fiction narratives, in which a connection with an existing present day representative is less important. We are but two years away from the setting of Blade Runner and while there are a thankful lack of replicants, there is a distinct lack of off-world colonies, flying cars and other appropriately advanced technologies. Obviously, the need to include Deckard meant that they could only advance the timeline by thirty years for the sequel.

The other danger with movies is product placement. A particular car manufacturer featured prominently in Blade Runner 2049, but what if the company bankrupt before the year 2049? Much like PanAm did after featuring prominently in the first film – and, curiously, its sequel. Either they anticipate the company’s resurrection, or the Blade Runner films exist in an alternate universe (aside from the alternate universe of movie fiction).

Since the early days of science fiction, the year 2000 always captured a sense of the wonder. It was a whole new century, the rapid pace of technological development in the latter half of the twentieth century made it feel like anything was possible once we pushed past that marker. Of course, the disappointing reality of that futuristic milestone was that we were, instead, preoccupied not with wonder, but instead with panic over two digits.

The so-called Y2K bug is a prefect testament that no matter how fast technology is going, it is in many ways not going as fast as our imaginations. Fear, not just of the same old apocalyptic predictions, gripped the technophobic world, imagining ever more implausible consequences of a two-digit date tracking code that nobody was expecting to still be using come the turn of the century.

However, while everyone else was wondering whether aeroplanes would fall out of the sky when the clock turned the century, I was casually wondering what would happen to the comic 2000 A.D. whose name would have lost all of its futuristic charm and would now be the equivalent of launching a comic called 1900 A.D. today.

Nothing, of course, changed in both the real world and the comic book world of 2000 A.D. – The world carried on turning and Rebellion purchased the comic books from Egmont and revived the brand to great success, proving that the name was “just a name” (much as Y2K was just a couple of digits) and a well established name at that. The most famous name from that anthology of alternate futures being Judge Dredd. Currently twice filmed and twice turned into a role-playing game, at the cusp of becoming a TV series and the third iteration of the role-playing game pending completion.

When I was growing up, I harboured the dream of making movies. Much like flying cars and hover boards, that dream did not come to pass, failing to become a reality, but instead my connection with the public narrative of futures past lies within my work on the new game.

I have been working on the layout of the upcoming Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 A.D. role-playing game, the link provided for which shows off the previews I have completed for it. I have had a lot of fun working on it and I really hope everyone likes how the end product will look. I certainly do.

I look forward to seeing how this does in the near future.

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