Near Future are books that are set not too far into the earths future, and most are set on the planet. In time (sometimes very little time) near future novels do in fact become near past in reality, however the best of these still remaining excellent stories regardless and can offer insight into what people considered "futuristic" and how close they predicted future technology.
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
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