Excerpt from Chapter 6 of William Gibson’s 2003 novel, Pattern Recognition:
"Of course," he says, "we have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense, we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which ‘now’ was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparents’ have insufficient ‘now’ to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volatile." He smiles a version of Tom Cruise with too many teeth, and longer, but still very white. ‘We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition."
"Do we have a past, then?" Stonestreet asks.
"History is a best-guess narrative about what happened and when," Bigend says, his eyes narrowing. "Who did what to whom. With what. Who won. Who lost. Who mutated. Who became extinct."
"The future is there," Cayce hears herself say, "looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now."
"You sound oracular." White teeth.
"I only know that the one constant in history is change: The past changes. Our version of the past will interest the future to about the extent we’re interested in in whatever the past the Victorians believed in. It simply won’t seem very relevant."