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“If you’ve paid attention, you can really start seeing historical arcs, like when an airplane reaches the altitude where the curvature of the Earth becomes visible.”

Kurt Andersen, author and co-founder of Spy magazine, displayed an eerie knack for political prophecy over the course of his career. His 1999 novel Turn of the Century imagined a future where Trump is running for office, and his 2017 non-fiction book Fantasyland foresaw a further rise in conspiracy theories — and was published months before QAnon first surfaced.

The secret to his forecasting savvy? Looking not at what’s ahead, but rather at what’s in front of his eyes. “The fiction I write is realistic and socially rooted,” he writes, “and conversely I approach non-fiction books partly as a fiction writer and satirist, giving myself license to connect dots oddly and change lanes at will.”

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Max Ufberg

Max Ufberg

Writer and editor. Previously at Medium, Pacific Standard, Wired

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