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In future installments of this department we'll look at the important writers, thinkers, works, and ideas in speculative fiction that have got us thinking about the way technological change could affect our lives. This is not to imply that science fiction writers represent a particularly prescient bunch-I think the norm is ray guns and spaceships-but when they're good, they're very good. And whatever gets us thinking is good. To get started, let's take a look at some of the key subgenres and eras in science fiction's history.