Could you be our new Sci-Fi Eye?

The Engineer’s resident science fiction writer, Jon Wallace, is relinquishing his hold on our crystal ball, and we’re looking for a successor.

Sci-fi Eye is a monthly column that takes a news story from The Engineer as its starting point and extrapolates one or more sometimes fanciful — but importantly, plausible — applications for the technology it describes as it is developed in the future, in the science fiction tradition.

The basis of the column is that for over a century, science fiction authors have used research current to their times as the springboard for their stories, with results that have often been eerily prescient (think of EM Forster and William Gibson’s early visions of email and the internet in The Machine Stops and Neuromancer, to HG Wells’ predictions of mechanised warfare and Jules Verne’s stories of moon landings, and more recently, depictions of multi-touch technology in the film Minority Report).

In other depictions, the science fiction view of a technology is serving as the inspiration for technology development (think of humanoid robots in innumerable books and films, and back with Minority Report, personal aviation and autonomous cars).

Yes, we really do have a crystal ball. Of course it has a 3D printed base.

We’re looking for someone who has preferably published fiction professionally to write around 800 words per month, which will appear both online and in print (online only in July and December). The author will have free rein to pick the story to act as the inspiration for their column, and we will pay a fee for their services. Applications from outside the UK are welcome; we can pay in US dollars, Euro and other currencies.

In order to pick our new contributor, we’d like to see what they have to offer. If you’d like to write for us, please send a not-for-publication sample article (for which we will not be paying) inspired by a story we have published WITHIN THE LAST MONTH to, accompanied by a CV and a hi-res author photo (a portrait taken with a good smartphone camera is fine if you don’t have professional headshots, but no cheesy selfies, please). Please indicate which story has been your starting point, and stick to the 800 word limit.

The deadline for applications is 9th February.

To see Jon Wallace’s columns to get a better idea of what we’re after, please click here.