Evidence is being gathered that UK researchers are no longer being invited to become a part of teams bidding for European Union research grants as a result of the Brexit vote. See here for further details.
Which is stupid… it means that the teams who would have otherwise invited British researchers are not inviting the best researchers for their projects. They are going with second best researchers. Which means the research will not be as good. Which means the real results of research will in effect take longer to be identified.
In the meantime that other powerhouse for research, USA, will forge ahead with its own research. Because their main rivals are not as quick in garnering results as before, some USA researchers will keep their work in-house. Which means they can forge ahead developing products with little or no rival and when ready, come to market, with new products. These new products will be sold at premium (business is business), which leads to more of an EU and UK trade deficit with the USA.
So what does this mean for science fiction?
- The overall pace of science and technology development will be slower than had been expected (as the USA can take more time to develop their products). So those nifty time lines in science fiction will have to drawn out longer.
- The USA can become even more powerful technology-wise. Consequences include Europe being left more behind. The standard of living difference between the USA and EU/UK will diverge. It’ll make for a different world dynamic in the longer term future, which again will affect science fiction stories. We’ll have more of tech-fortress USA against the rest of the world stories. A good example would be if USA developed fusion power. It could keep the tech to itself and sell the energy they generate by it abroad at a premium.
- The brain drain from EU/UK of scientists, technologists and engineers to USA will increase. This will accelerate the difference in science-savy culture. The science fiction in the EU/UK will be even less tech-based than it is now.
So all in all, the idiots in other EU countries who refuse to chose the best members of their collaborations are shooting science in the foot, detracting from the success of their future economies and pushing EU/UK science fiction towards less optimistic story lines and more dystopia (which in my opinion we already have too much of).
Depressing, isn’t it?
Well, it would be, except that I’m detecting the stirrings of some unusual politics in the UK. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s a hint here, a snippet there type touch. I’ve got a funny feeling that the UK may, just may (please excuse the pun), be heading for s society that is different from what we’ve been used to since the end of World War 2.
It’s the extrapolation of where this kind of society will lead that UK science fiction ought to be writing about.
Of course, the other EU countries won’t have this advantage on which to base new science fiction.
So this is an opportunity for UK science fiction to take a lead in European (and indeed world) science fiction.
Edit 17/07/2016 – There has been another article on this matter in the Guardian, with more facts and figures to add to picture.