In the age of the fantasy blockbuster, it’s easy to forget the ubiquity of science fiction during the postwar era. During the Cold War and the Space Race, the perception was that Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov were predicting the future one story at a time. (This is no exaggeration. Reader’s Digest, then the most popular magazine in America, called Clarke “The Prophet of the Space Age” in 1969.) But, in this century, automation and advances in computer processing have eliminated swathes of middle class jobs and, as a result, major portions of the reading public, liberal and conservative, have lost their faith in the redemptive power of technology.