1. CyanideBreakfast
    Offline

    CyanideBreakfast Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Scotland

    Futuristic setting

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by CyanideBreakfast, Sep 21, 2012.

    Part of my story is set 50 years in the future, so...the year 2060-ish. My characters aren't there for long, however, but I have very little idea of how the world might be by then. Of course no one does but I have a few ideas and I want to be sure it's realistic.

    The cities are huge and have one acre of green land (grass, forest, flower bed, etc) for 5 square miles of city. There is still plenty of countryside which hasn't changed much but my bit in the future is in the city which is why building a good city setting is important to me. My MC is supposed to be able to see into some lower level flats and pass judgement on the decour...so far I have geometric shapes in clashing colours, which I don't particularly like but I want it to be different from the present and that was all I could think of.

    No one has cars run off oil anymore, they're all electric. The super rich have cars driven by GPS, although they can opt for a manual control. Long distance public transport is done in that method, with manual being used for entering/leaving stations. Short distance public transport is hover cars (some of the super rich may also drive a hover car) and by hover car I do mean something kinda like what is seen in the 5th Element but less...futuristicy, if you get me.

    Fashion has moved on...I'm thinking everyone wears neon colours. The brighter your colours, the more you've spent kind of thing so there's still a difference in social class evident. It's not entirely different from our time, however...the second time my MC meets the anti-hero (in his timeline it's his first meeting...) he is wearing jeans and a tshirt -and- to give them something to talk about it's a band tshirt (and I was very bad and gave my own name to the 10th album by a band I listen to and then killed the lead singer...) but it gave them something in common to draw them together.

    I have no idea how language may have progressed, but all I hear from people these days is 'reem' and 'beans' and 'yolo' so I was considering using things like that if it's realistic enough. I do want more than just that though =/

    It is all set in Britain, I must point out as well...I'm working my head around the idea of setting it, officially, in Glasgow as I envisioned Suchiehall Street in my opening sequence but I haven't actually named any cities as such.

    The final thing I have, that needs a name rather than a reality check is a device which can change your body shape in 4 weeks. If you're skinny and programme it to make you buff, 30mins every day for 4 weeks you're exactly what you asked for. Or if you're fat want to be skinny, flat want curves...almost like home based plastic surgery but not quite as drastic, it's limited in what it can do and still a relatively new item in that time (and this is going to be in it because it's how my future character buffs up and there's a very embarrassingly awkward yet totally sweet moment where he confesses to my MC how he went from scrawny and geeky to h-o-t!).

    So, my question: how realistic are my ideas so far? Do you want to add anything?
     
  2. Cogito
    Online

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Realistic? Your setting doesn't exist, so it isn't realistic at all.

    What you really are asking is whether the readers will buy it. The answer depends on your skills as a writer, not any inherent properties of that setting.

    Is the Emerald City of Oz believable? What about he Star Wars Death Star? What about John Carter's Mars? Or the planet Krypton. None of these are particularly plausible, but their writers either make us believe, or make us suspend our disbelief.

    Instead of asking whether it is believable, make the reader believe it. Or at least accept it.
     
  3. Michele
    Offline

    Michele New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Fair warning, I am new here, and still getting my feet wet--you are the lucky recipient of my first post! ;) That caveat stated, here are my thoughts on your world.

    You present some interesting concepts, but I think you need to first and foremost consider what is your purpose of showing these parts of the future? What are they meant to convey to the reader?

    Secondly, beware of using things that are inspired by trends of today, because in 5 years (or 5 months) they may seem dated and out of sync with your storyline.

    Some possible alternatives:
    Language: Instead of using those slang terms that you hear all of the time, you could choose a pattern or two that is used to create contemporary slang, and create your own future lingo that modern readers will connect with and can believe is the logical outcome of language development. For example, the trend of using web and other abbreviations like OMG and YOLO and YMMV could be adapted to use in a slightly different context (you would provide the key for early examples and then let the reader take it from there to figure out what the terms mean, like really learning a dialect.) or you could take another aspect of language and turn it inside out (not an extreme, unless you want it to be intentionally jarring). So for example, if you wanted to get rid of first person pronouns because the society is focused on the non-self, you could leave out all forms of I and me and we and reuse names over and over which would have impact but wouldn't be a jarring as say, getting rid of ALL pronouns (try writing like this one time and you will see how hard it can be!). You could take some of those slang terms you mentioned and turn them into product brands or company names (but that might work better in a nearer future than yours).

    For the decor piece, we have watched things go extremely minimalistic from the middle of the 20th century on-does that trend suit your purpose in the MC's judgment of the decor --how can you adapt it even further? Or would going to the opposite end of the spectrum be a better idea? What point are you making with it?

    For the clothing, look at some science articles on some of the new materials being developed and instead of focusing on neon colors, focus on function. Can the clothing make you disappear at certain angles or wavelengths of light? Are they impermeable so you can't be stabbed or shot? Do they have antennas built in so your clothing serves as your network connection like walking wifi? Are cameras built in and reflecting your environment on your shirt (think Times Square billboards reproduced on your shirt and changing as you walk across the street...)--Just twenty years ago there was virtually no access to the Internet and very little cellular service-you are going 50 years into the future, so you need some pretty major changes while still allowing your reader to relate to the environment. (so if you stick with the neon clothes, maybe you can make them nanoLEDs woven in! LOL!) You can "weave" the clothing capabilities into your plot.

    Bottom line: (I know this is probably too long--sorry!) Consider what George Orwell did in 1984 to depict a world that was familiar to his audience and yet very futuristic. He didn't do it for the sake of looking futuristic, he did it as a form of social criticism. He used the newspeak language to depict the ludicrousness (is that even a word?) of a society that accepts a complete evisceration of what it holds as true and allows someone to say that red is blue and peace is war.

    Once you have determined what your intention is with the future scenes, you can make each one of these judgments an element that helps to reinforce your message and move your plot forward. I hope this is helpful!
     
  4. CyanideBreakfast
    Offline

    CyanideBreakfast Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Scotland
    Very helpful actually, thank you both.

    This trip to the future by my MC is with another character and it's to further develop their relationship - he shows her a museum which holds at least one model of everything that a technological giant of today produced and that is all that is left of them. So the speech and fashion thing are really just minimal issues as there's not a huge amount of interaction with other people. The second thing this trip does is really introduce some strange aspects of my 2nd character, who has appeared to be a good guy but actually isn't and the decour thing comes in because he has remained minimalistic and obsessively clean and tidy, specifically with greys as his main colour scheme, in stark contrast with his current society. I could possibly create the progression in my 2nd of 3 settings (there's the present day, the 'Time Hall' and 50 years in the future as the basic major settings) but it would take a lot that way, I think, to convince readers that they need to rethink trusting this character. At least if some time is spent in his world I can twist his character fairly easily while still making him appear perfectly nice.

    I know no one knows what it's going to be like but I want my future to be plausible, like it really honestly could happen. Yes, anything is possible, but I mean really possible!
     
  5. DefinitelyMaybe
    Offline

    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    866
    Likes Received:
    227
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    One thing that annoys me about some stories set in the future is that they keep on referencing our present too often. E.g. mentioning the "classic" music, films, television, other arts of the "late 20th century." I find that unbelievable, as I don't think that the present will be viewed by the future as some sort of golden age that everyone talks about. Some mentions are fine. And of course if your characters are time-travelling, then they might be from now and be focussed on this era. But if you have a future where everyone is unrealistically focussed on the early 2010s, then this can be a bit unbelievable and corny.
     
  6. CyanideBreakfast
    Offline

    CyanideBreakfast Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yes, I had been aware of that but there's not any major reference to the present when they go to the future. It's all about the there and now kind of thing. A society obsessed with the present day rather than yesterday or tomorrow. With the exception of the museum for a technological giant of today, but I am using facts and information from today to build the company's downfall so it's believable. If it becomes appropriate to mention it, I'll have DVDs being obsolete for as long as is believable and blurays being on their way out with yet another major advancement or 2. My boyfriend will be helping me with that bit as a tech geek. Well, computer geek but he knows loads about most of that stuff.

    I just hope I get something that's good and could be our future...Maybe some oldies could moan about their glory days which were here, but I haven't really any need to reference 2012 when my characters are in 2060ish (still need to decide within about 5 years exactly what year they are in but it's round about then.)
     
  7. DefinitelyMaybe
    Offline

    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    866
    Likes Received:
    227
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    I work in a technical area related to such stuff as DVDs and Blu-rays.

    Blu-rays will be long, long, gone by 2060. I would expect Blu-rays to be obsolete by 2020.

    Edit: Maybe 2025, on hindsight. But I wouldn't be surprised if they stop making Blu-rays before 2020.
     
  8. B93
    Offline

    B93 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    32
    All of your ideas should be relatively easy to make the reader accept but perhaps for the body shaping. I'd have a lot more trouble with that.

    As an extreme example (not necessarily to be emulated) of futuristic slang, read Clockwork Orange. His introduction to the language was brutal and I almost didn't turn to the second page, but eventually I got it. If you look at his techniques for creating words, rather than copying examples, it might be helpful.

    For future technology, concentrate on what it does and not how it works. There would be no way Queen Victoria would have understood how television works, but a time traveler could tell her there is a machine that shows moving pictures at a distance like a telegraph sends words, and she might get that. Your reader won't understand or need to understand the technology of the future.
     

Share This Page