Are Historicals the New Science Fiction?

I try to follow literary trends as best I can, and it seems like we have a wealth of historical novels these days—far beyond the Michener-like epics—and a dearth of science-fiction. It’s almost as if the two genres have flipped around, that historicals have supplanted the purpose of science-fiction.

In many ways, we live in the science-fiction world our parent read about. We have instantaneous, world-wide communication. I spend a lot of my time wandering around cyberspace. We can cross the country in a matter of hours rather than weeks. The future is here.

Good science-fiction comments upon the present by showing where the future might lead us. Now that we’re in the future—nearing the singularity, the scientific event horizon beyond which predictions become much more difficult to make—perhaps we’re looking back at the past to find patterns that show us what might happen next. Or maybe we’re just using that atavistic setting to comment on our present, fulfilling a role that science-fiction used to take.