ASU's 'Hieroglyph' earns Futurist award


Ed Finn, director of ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination and an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, edited “Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future.”


A collection of inspiring visions of the future has earned ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination an honor in the present.

Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future,” an anthology of ambitious, technically-grounded science fiction visions of the near future curated by the center, has been honored with an award for Most Significant Futures Work by the Association of Professional Futurists.

The award comes in the category honoring works that “illuminate the future through literary or artistic works.”

“It’s a milestone for us to see ‘Hieroglyph’ recognized not just by science fiction fans but also working futurists,” said Ed Finn, co-editor of the anthology. “Our ambition has always been to build a vibrant community dedicated to changing the world through big ideas and thoughtful optimism, and it’s tremendous to see our message reach professionals guiding strategic decision-making beyond the academy.”

“Hieroglyph,” published in 2014 by William Morrow/HarperCollins, features seventeen short stories, presenting a range of compelling possible futures based on real emerging science and technology. Top science fiction writers collaborated with scientists, engineers and other researchers in fields ranging from education and sustainability to structural engineering and space exploration to create plausible visions of the future that scientists and engineers could actually begin working on today.

The anthology features stories about a 20 kilometer steel tower that stretches into the stratosphere, a swarm of 3-D printer robots building structures on the Moon, a sustainable solar city that works like an enormous algae cell and other indelible icons of a better future.

Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, edited the book with Kathryn Cramer, an accomplished author, critic and anthologist.

Established in 2007, the Most Significant Futures Work awards honor works that advance the work of foresight and futures studies, contribute to the understanding of the future of a significant area of human endeavor or of the natural world, or present new images of the future through visual arts, films, poetry or fiction.

“Hieroglyph” shares the 2015 award for artistic and literary works with “Byologic/Zed.TO,” a real-time narrative about a viral pandemic outbreak in Toronto that integrated interactive theatrical events with online content, and “The Museum of Future Government Services,” an exhibit featuring immersive, interactive experiences of the future launched at the United Arab Emirates Government Summit 2014 in Dubai. Other nominees in the “literary and artistic works” category included Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film “Interstellar” and Stephen Baxter’s science fiction novel “Proxima.”