You have *got* to be kidding me.
Looking to prevent the next terrorist attack, the Homeland Security Department is tapping into the wild imaginations of a group of self-described "deviant" thinkers: science-fiction writers.
"We spend our entire careers living in the future," says author Arlan Andrews, one of a handful of writers the government brought to Washington this month to attend a Homeland Security conference on science and technology.
Those responsible for keeping the nation safe from devastating attacks realize that in addition to border agents, police and airport screeners, they "need people to think of crazy ideas," Andrews says.
The writers make up a group called Sigma, which Andrews put together 15 years ago to advise government officials. The last time the group gathered was in the late 1990s, when members met with government scientists to discuss what a post-nuclear age might look like, says group member Greg Bear. He has written 30 sci-fi books, including the best seller Darwin's Radio.
Sigma consists of Jerry Pournelle, Arlan Andrews, Greg Bear, Larry Niven and Sage Walker.
Okay, on the one hand, I'm immenselfy turned-on by this on general principles. On the other hand, this team isn't exactly the cutting-edge of speculative fiction; I mean, Larry Niven? Sure, once upon a time. Greg Bear? Hmm, rather have Egan but okay. Sage Walker? Best known for her work on Wild Cards. Arlan Andrews? Never heard of him.