1. Birmingham
    Offline

    Birmingham Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    1

    Future but not futuristic

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Birmingham, Jan 6, 2012.

    I'm writing something about the future. I have my own reasons for doing so, which I won't get into right now (maybe later) but I do worry about the fact that even though I don't want to make it scifi, I sort of HAVE to by definition. I mean, the world is moving so fast, I can't even use the term "cellphone" in it, because it's about to be eradicated, that term. It's interesting because out of the three eras, the earliest era is around 2012 or 2016, so any event that happens today or tomorrow in real life will affect the collective history of the society in the story.

    My problem is that I don't want to do it futuristic, but I somewhat have to, and I need to find good tech podcasts and articles to maybe help me throw a few grains of progress here and there. I do not believe that I have to do too much of it, as society seldom runs in a pace as fast as futuristic creations.

    Take the first part of Demolition Man (starring Stallone, Snipes, and the delightful Nigel Hawthorne from "Yes, Minister"). That shows how in the future, 1996, there would be a freezing technology in all prisons.

    Timecop: It shows futuristic cars in 2004, with an amazing navigation and auto-driver system. True 2004? Not even close!

    And of course there is the Back To The Future saga which shows us 2015, if I'm not mistaken. We're almost there, but a lot of what was seen in the second movie is not here at all.

    Not to mention how election works in Asimov's future. He wrote of the 2008 elections, in which the voting system had been through a massive reform. Even an ounce of it didn't happen.

    I'm not attacking these writers, but I think it shows that we have to downgrade our ideas (or at least I do) when writing about the future. Nevertheless, I digress big time. Mostly here for thoughts on how to write and throw in futuristic stuff in a novel where the futuristic stuff isn't that important.
     
  2. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Well, the thing about technology is that the singularity is getting closer all the time (The singularity is the point in time when technology has gotten so advanced that we can't predict where it will lead next because it's essentially too advanced for our human minds).
    So, really, all of these writers are writing possible, realistic futures. They're just not getting the time right.

    To be honest, I'm just surprised you didn't mention 2001: A Space Odyssey.
     
  3. Birmingham
    Offline

    Birmingham Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    1
    Of course! Space Odyssey! Now, come to think of it... also 1984, although Winston Smith recognizes they can't truly know the year, due to how information is distorted and there is no real way to know if they kept the calander as it was or changed it up.
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    then why do it?
     
  5. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think what the OP is saying is that they want to write a futuristic setting, but don't want the setting to come across as being overly important; it's just part of the background. So, yeah, there's plenty of reasons like that to do it.

    To that, I say: it's kind of hard to make a setting part of the background. The setting is always going to come out in random places. All I can say, and I'm sorry it sounds so useless, is that you need to find the right balance between mentioning things and explaining them. You can mention a laser knife that cuts through stone if you want to. Just be all, "He runs the thin blade of plasma through the melon, cutting it into four neat quarters" and so on.
    That's definitely futuristic (if tacky), and you're not exaggerating its importance or over-explaining it.
     
  6. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,374
    Likes Received:
    311
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    You should read future shock, which is completely outdated now, and see just how wrong and oddly right someone who was working hard to predict trends got it.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  7. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,374
    Likes Received:
    311
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    You should read future shock, which is completely outdated now, and see just how wrong and oddly right someone who was working hard to predict trends got it.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    What is your purpose in writing a story set in the future? That should drive what your future looks like.

    Remember, the goal is not to accurately predict the future. The purpose is to creeate a framework in which your story can be told.

    Larry Niven came up with the idea of organ banks, and explored how that would change society. He postulated that with people needing "spare parts", a black market would arise to collect compatible organs from living, unwilling donors. He also postulated that laws would change to keep capital punishment as a means of stocking the organ banks, and indeed to apply capital punishment to increasingly minor offenses.

    Some aspects of Niven's projections have come true, to his dismay. But his tales were not meant to predict the future, they were an exploration of possible consequences of a technological trend.

    That is the essence of science fiction. Exploring possible outcomes of science or technology, and thereby exploring human nature. It doesn't matter whether your future society lies on our true path ahead. It only matters whether your projections are logically consistent with your premises, and whether they convey your opinion about how humans (or their surrogates) would respond in those conditions.
     
  9. Enzo03
    Offline

    Enzo03 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    1
    Kinda why I have been trying to start calling it "speculative fiction" but I often forget the term. :)

    Another example is Fahrenheit 451. Apparently there was a nuke launched in the 90s and reading is illegal. Society has become hedonistic to the point of stupidity (literally) because of television (media) on steroids - big rooms with entire walls as dedicated television screens with interactive programming formulated to satisfy hedonistic values.

    Of course, it also got a few things eerily close, too close for comfort, but far enough that we can say we're better than that. The TV walls are probably possible for one thing (we have this 73" and...).

    It is very possible that there could have been a trend in society starting from the time the book was written which could have led to his dystopian society taking place today. What he did was not just to speculate on what such a trend could do but to warn us to avoid trends such as these, which goes beyond the purpose of most speculative fiction pieces.
     
  10. funkybassmannick
    Offline

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I have no idea what your story is like, but is it possible to set your current "present day" into the past, so that your "future day" can take place in something that is ambiguously today? In other words, why is it so important that your "present day" take place right now?
     

Share This Page