June 2, 2016 6:01 AM EDT

When we think about the future, we envision a version of the present: that the TV shows, movies and singers who matter most today will be the ones remembered in 100 years. History says otherwise, Chuck Klosterman argues in But What if We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present as if It Were the Past. The works that endure, he says, are the ones that future societies find meaningful, whether they’re valued in their day or not. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was scorned when it came out, and Franz Kafka was dead before The Trial saw print. So which of today’s writers will be remembered in 2116? Probably not Philip Roth or Jonathan Franzen, Klosterman says, but someone writing in obscurity (perhaps on the deep web), representing an ultra-marginalized group and covering subjects that can be completely reinterpreted by future readers. “The most amazing writer of this generation,” he writes, “is someone you’ve never heard of.”


This appears in the June 13, 2016 issue of TIME.

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