The Manual of Design Fiction

Thursday 13th October, 2022 - Bruce Sterling

Available for pre-order now

First printing — a Limited First Edition from Near Future Laboratory Publishing

12 years ago I scrawled an essay called “A Short Essay on Design, Science, Fact, and Fiction” wondering how to bring Imagination to contexts in which I was working. I was groping for ways to imagine and feel into possible futures that allowed me to situate myself somewhere between imagining the future, and actually creating products from that future. I wanted to be an engineer and a story teller about possibility at the same time. Ultimately I wondered how fictional prototypes of possible products could help the organizations I worked within ignite conversations in fresh ways, and see more expansively into their possible futures.

Pre-Order The Manual of Design Fiction Now
Tough job.

Frankly, I was tired of the canned methodologies, step-by-step design thinking procedures, and organizations that feared the beautifully unanticipated and unexpected expressions of true creativity and innovation. Too much Structure. Not enough Imagination.

We need to bring more Imagination to Structure. “Innovation” is hardly that anymore. “Design” within supposedly the most innovative and wealthiest social formations the world has ever known are largely running on rails or submitting creativity to data analytics and PowerPoint futures produced by management consultants.

Design fiction, from that first scribbled essay, has been about reminding us of this existentially vital capability we have to dream different, to imagine alternatives to the status quo, to bring about true creative insight and fresh perspectives on what it is to innovate into the unanticipated and unexpected.

“In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn.” — OCTAVIA BUTLER
We’ve captured this mindset in the Near Future Laboratory’s “The Manual of Design Fiction”, now available for pre-order. It’s the definitive book on design fiction from us here at the Near Future Laboratory, the originators of the practice. We expect that it provides a compelling mindset and toolkit for any organization grappling with the future and its implications.

Couldn’t be happier to have this out in the world. Three years in the writing. Three days for the printing. Shipping Nov. 1st worldwide.

Pre-Order The Manual of Design Fiction Now
“The Manual of Design Fiction is an unparalleled, rigorous insight into the philosophy and practice of design fiction from the pioneers of the approach. With this extensive publication, Near Future Laboratory demonstrates the need and urgency of bringing design fiction approaches to business. This book is not a step by step how-to guide nor is it a treasure trove of quick fix methods and tools for those interested in applying design fiction to their work. Rather, and more importantly, this is a book about an approach, a philosophy, a mindset. And a crucial one at that; one that will not limit us to tools we already use to address familiar problems, but rather an approach that opens up the ways in which we can address uncertainty and traverse new possibilities.” — ANAB JAIN, FOUNDER SUPERFLUX
Product Details

Hardcover, Cloth Bound, Silk Ribbon, 247 pages.

Written by Julian Bleecker, Nick Foster, Fabien Girardin and Nicolas Nova with Chris Frey and Patrick Pittman; additional contributions by Israel Viadest.

Edited by Chris Frey and Patrick Pittman of No Media.

Hand-drawn illustrations by Nick FosterMy

Designed by Chris Lange.

Set in Lyon Text (2009) by Kai Bernau and anchored with Classic Grotesque (2012) by Rod McDonald.

Language: English

Published by Near Future Laboratory, Venice Beach, California, USA

First printing, October 2022

Printed by Ofset Yapimevi in Istanbul Turkey on the Heidelberg Speedmaster SX102

ISBN 978-0-9905633-1-0