Illiteracy is the default state in my fantasy story -- not surprising, I'm sure. Peasants have more important and time-consuming survival skills to teach their children than reading and writing. Most of them would sign with an X if they needed to sign something.
Unexpectedly, this also came up in my science fiction when a truce needed to be signed. The universe I built -- the Jovian Frontier -- is so hooked up, wireless and otherwise computer-driven that I suddenly realized that it had been 150,000 words and nobody had even typed anything, never mind held a pen and written something on a piece of paper.
So I was wrapping up the end of the second book and suddenly I looked over at Maggie and asked, Can you sign your name?
She said she'd practice for it, since this treaty was important. But it made me think about hand-writing and how it's slowly but steadily fading from the world. Would it ever become so unusual that one would need to practice one's signature for a special event?
What would that special event be?
If computers become good enough to take dictation and read text to us, will reading fall by the wayside too?
Perish the thought...