Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination
Hieroglyph website: http://hieroglyph.asu.edu/book/hieroglyph Neal Stephenson, “Innovation Starvation”: http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/fall2011/innovation-starvation Hieroglyph book trailer: https://vimeo.com/105817777 Hieroglyph Phoenix launch event video: https://vimeo.com/118071424 BBC News story: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28974943
Hieroglyph is an exemplar of how art and storytelling can rekindle our grand ambitions for the future. The project brought together top science fiction authors with scientists, engineers, and other experts to collaborate on futuristic visions grounded in real insights from science, technology, and a wide range of other disciplines. Hieroglyph includes proposals for 3D printing in space, an alternative internet powered by drones, solar cities designed to mimic algae cells, and more. The project sparked a national conversation throughout news outlets about the role science fiction plays in igniting the public’s imagination and bridging our present with the future. This project has served as a model for futurism and its power to shape innovation.
Founded by renowned author Neal Stephenson and headquartered at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, Project Hieroglyph aims to rekindle our grand ambitions for the future through the power of storytelling.
Stephenson set the stage for Hieroglyph in an essay, “Innovation Starvation,” in which he argues that we—the society that created the Apollo program and the internet—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and “Do Big Stuff.” Stephenson theorizes that science fiction has a unique power to inspire our technological and social imagination.
We responded to this challenge by bringing together top science fiction authors with scientists, engineers, and other experts to collaborate on ambitious, hopeful visions of the future grounded in real insights from science, technology, and a wide range of other disciplines.
Our first anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, features 17 original stories born from these collaborations, built on transformative technologies like 3D printing in space, an alternative internet powered by drones, solar cities designed to mimic algae cells, and more. We placed scientific essays, visual art, and interviews into dialogue with the fiction, providing multiple modes for thoughtful engagement and equipping readers for the transdisciplinary work necessary to shape our future.
The book sparked a national conversation about the role science fiction plays in shaping our future in outlets including The New York Times, Nature, and BBC News. One of our stories, Cory Doctorow’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” won the Theodore Sturgeon Award for the best science fiction short story of 2014, and the anthology was honored as a Most Significant Futures Work by the Association of Professional Futurists.