"Well, we were off to a rocking start here in Torino when New Years Eve was cancelled for 2008." So begins Bruce Sterling's ninth annual State of the World discussion at The WELL. And things only get stranger from there.
A cyberpunk pioneer, popular futurist, former "visionary in residence," and green movement designer, Sterling addresses everything from Al Quaeda ("[it] has finally lost its dance beat"), the U.S. economy ("Joe and Jane Sixpack are looking at four-dollar milk and five-dollar gas"), predictions for the coming year ("I don't expect too much to happen in 2008"), why science fiction writers would make bad politicians ("They get bored with the dull stuff, like making sure your kids have shoes and plumbing and your population has civil rights").
Sterling's discussion partners are not to be skipped, either -- their questions, conversations, and conclusions make for equally fascinating reading. Beware: there's enough thought-provoking text here to easily consume an hour or two.