Science fiction is often accused of being The Great Predictor. Which predictions did Golden Age science fiction get right? Which ones were way off the mark?
MR: In terms of essentially trivial things, it predicted plastics, night baseball, waldoes, and half a hundred other things early fans used to point to with pride. I think it missed most of our major breakthroughs: the fall of the Soviet Empire, the cure for polio, the huge influx of Hispanics into the USA, the fact that cancer is less of a killer these days and more of a chronic disease, the near-extinction of the passenger trains that made it possible for us to populate the continent, the emergence of HIV, even the proliferation of computers. The most important off-the-mark was the fact that almost no one predicted that once we got into space, reached the Moon, landed on Mars, the public would be totally uninterested and apathetic.