Charlie Stross predicts the future

Charlie Stross, the author of, amongst other things, the Laundry series, has, again, written about where we find ourselves at the start of 2022, and why it’s getting easier to predict some things (usually because there’s a very clear trend, and it’s typically bad), and harder to predict others — sometimes because this is, increasingly, the stupidest timeline, sometimes because there are two ways it could go and we don’t know which way it’s going to fall.

COVID brought this problem to the fore by generating a demand shock and also a labour shortage. It gets little news coverage but we’re seeing the biggest wave of labour unrest in the USA since the 1930s. In the UK it’s muted because the economy also took a battering from Brexit—an estimated 6% contraction since 2020—which COVID provides a convenient scapegoat for. But eventually the bills will come due. We may be entering a pre-revolutionary situation, or the ramp-up to a dictatorial clampdown (the latter is clearly in an advanced stage in both China and Russia). By 2031 it’s likely to be resolved in one direction or another; I can only hope, with a minimum of bloodshed.

Be gentle: he hosts his own blog, and it’s getting hammered.

Also, I am stealing the phrase “feco-chiropteroid crazy”


He does these once in a while and it’s an absolute must read for anyone who thinks the daily doom scroll doesn’t quite give one enough evidence of our grim meathook future. A medicinal whiskey supplement may be required before or while reading.


I mean, I would put the COVID and such in less of the “out of nowhere” and more in the “this is going to happen and is inevitable.” And what’s funny, is that he actually sites the reason why. Laurie Garrett’s the Coming Plague talked about this being an inevitability in 1994 and that we just keep getting lucky. In fact, she and Fuaci were interviewed TOGETHER on NPR in 1998 talking about the Hong Kong Flu.

So, I don’t know how someone whose laundry files include CASE NIGHTMARE as an inevitability can put COVID on a “who ordered this?”

We did. We’ve been waiting for this delivery for decades now.


I think it’s less the inevitability of “something of this sort” happening, and more “these precise details are nuts”.

So “a plague will arise” was known to be likely (in certain circles). In fact, it happened several times with the previous SARS iterations. and was dealt with by governments who were more or less on top of it. The “who ordered this?” bit is, I think, more for “… and every right-wing government on earth will, as one, prevent it from being contained but for political reasons will guarantee that it goes out of control in the most nutzo possible way.”


Predicting something will happen eventually is pretty different from predicting that something will happen now, though.

As Stross puts it:
like the second world war—September 1st 1939 was not in fact predictable from September 1st 1929, for example: all that was predictable was that another European war would sooner or later see France and Germany at loggerheads.


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