(Nothing But) Futures

David W. Kupferman
Vol 40, Number 1, p.47
The year after the journal ACCESS originally launched, Octavia Butler (1983) published a short story titled “Speech Sounds” in the science fiction monthly Asimov’s Science Fiction. The story takes place in the aftermath of a pandemic that seemingly has one of multiple effects: one either loses the ability to speak coherently, or one loses the ability to read and write (but not both). In this paper, I will discuss how this story has utility as an example of future studies. Futures studies is an attempt to game out multiple futures by using our present-day anxieties, institutions, and value systems to consider what is probable, what is possible, and what is preferable. Through future studies, I am looking for a new way for thinking about theory so that we can engage in imagining any number of educational futures, one that takes the scaffolding of futures studies and both looks to science fiction as its object of inquiry and reads educational research and policy as science fiction writing.