I just got the latest issue of Scientific American, and the feature on "10 big advances that will improve life, transform computing and maybe even save the planet" caught my eye. I open it up to an illustrated page on Microwave Rocketry, using ground-based power plants to power vehicles that reach from ground to orbit.

Wow. That's the bleeding-edge of science fiction turning reality.

This can be read as a short-list of ideas to explore for near-future SF. How will this affect society, what spinoffs will it have in day-to-day life, what will our children experience as routine that we find so marvelous, and how will that change them?

I'd like to suggest that we consider these ideas specifically over the next month for our worldbuilding inner adventures, whether it can be worked into a Fortnightly Challenge or just inspired from this post (you can add a comment to this post noting it, in leiu of a suitable tag).

The list is:

  1. Eye-Controlled Machines
  2. Microwave Rocketry — Beamed power could create a low-cost paradigm for access to space
  3. Trawling for Viruses — A new method identifies every virus in a given sample with near-perfect accuracy
  4. Soft, Injectable Electronic Probes for thr Brain
  5. Little Fusion
  6. Kill Switches for GMOs
  7. The Heat Vacuum — A multipurpose mirror sucks up heat and beams it into outer space
  8. Machines That Teach Themselves
  9. Slow-Motion Cameras for Chemical Reactions
  10. Seeing around Corners
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not quite sure I understand you there... so suggest to have questions on worldbuilding which actually include one or more of the elements of that list? $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2015 at 6:20

1 Answer 1


There is a near-future tag on the list of potential challenge topics. That tag could be chosen for the next challenge and this suggestion rolled into it.


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