[...] science fiction as a genre does not claim to actually predict the future. Rather, it works to extrapolate elements of the present, to consider what these elements might lead to if allowed to reach their full potential. That is to say, science fiction is not about the actual future but about the futurity that haunts the present. It grasps, and brings to visibility, what Deleuze calls the virtual dimension of existence, or what Marx calls tendential processes.
Science fiction takes up certain implicit conditions of our personal and social lives, and makes these conditions fully explicit in narrative. It picks out "futuristic" trends that are already embedded within our actual social and technological situation. These trends are not literal matters of fact, but they really exist as tendencies or potentialities. In the words of Deleuze, they are "real without being actual, ideal without being abstract, and symbolic without being fictional." They are potentials for change, growth, or decay, bu they have not fully expressed themselves or done all that they can do. And they may not ever do so, since (as Marx points out) a tendency is always accompanied by "counteracting factors" that can inhibit or even reverse it.