Thanks for posting this. I have two thoughts that fit better here than in twitter-sized chunks, in response to your ending questions:
> Does anyone have any thoughts on this apparent trend towards darker visions of the future?
I think that to reconcile the differing perceptions of myself and @SueGrimshaw, we need to recognize that different genres of fiction fulfill different roles for people. Let me simply label those roles as “thinky” and ”escapist” fiction. In short, “thinky” fiction exists to explore ideas, one way or another. “Escapist” fiction exists to provide readers with a temporary vacation to their mental happy-place.