1. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    Time and period setting

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by wonderland, Jul 2, 2013.

    I've been outlining a series for a long time now. I'm about to get started and something has been niggling at me regarding setting a time or year if you will.

    So my issue is that I don't want to set it in present 21st century because I don't want characters to have the luxury and convenience of mobile technology and the internet.

    I was hoping that one could just write a story without referring to dates, people could pick up telephones or go to the library. I just don't know if that's sensible or not? What's the professional practise for such a thing. My guess is that I'll just have to set it in the 90s.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pssst, we even had colour TVs in the 90s... Go back another decade but don't forget the big hair, shoulder pads and leg-warmers!
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even in Turkey in 1993 where imports were heavily taxed for a while we had PCs, and my husband had a car phone. The internet was rubbish until about 2005, though. I got my first mobile phone in 1995. I think you need to research an era like the 50s. If you set it in the 70s or 80s, too many people will spot the mistakes.
     
  4. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    That's an interesting question. I'd assume you wouldn't have to directly tell the reader the date that it's set in, you could just let the eventual reader assume the year by what technology is accessible to the characters in the story. If you have a character pick up a phone book and start dialing into a land-line telephone, or go to a library to use a phone, people will assume that the characters don't have the luxury of mobiles.
     
  5. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Mobiles and the internet existed in the 90's, but weren't nearly as prevalent.
     
  6. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    That's my point. Harry Potter was set in the 90s and you don't see any mobiles in that. Or web surfing. I think the existence of mobile technology can remove so many opportunities for conflict in stories "well why didn't he just call them on his mobile." type stuff.
     
  7. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Easy way to eliminate that- Dead battery, no service. Internet is down.

    It happens often enough, and is a real world problem.
     
  8. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    Yes but over a series of novels you can't have the internet constantly going down and dead mobile phone batteries.
     
  9. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Could just not use them, or refer to a specific era. Unless your story has a precise reason for existing in a decade, does it need to mention the time at all?
     
  10. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I've had similar thoughts about avoiding modern technology in my second novel (work in progress), and also wanting a particular social background - as a result, I'm setting it in the late 1960's (but aiming to avoid referring to specific dates/years - though I might waiver on that), and researching fairly heavily by reading contemporary books, watching contemporary TV and quizzing my parents. (I was born in the 70's).

    Incidentally, by 1996 I was using the web fairly frequently in my workplace, although wikipedia didn't exist (but CD-ROM encyclopaedias were somewhat popular). In the early 1990s email was already common in universities and technical industries. In the mid 1990s, an old-fashioned library was still my go-to research method though.
     
  11. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    [MENTION=31407]wonderland[/MENTION]

    is there a specific reason you absolutely need to set your story in the 90s?
     
  12. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I was on the internet in 1993. My wife had a work cell phone and so did our bosses. I saw Leonard Nimoy, in an airport, use a Motorola flip phone. One of the happiest moments of my life.

    Go farther back :)
     
  13. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Sometimes it helps to eliminate technology.

    If Harry Potter had a smartphone, he could have just followed Voldemort on Twitter. Much shorter series. :)
     
  14. swordsandpens
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    swordsandpens New Member

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    AOL and their ilk were booming in the 90s, so if you want to avoid the internet, you'd have to go further back. I'd go with the 60s. High technology was nowhere to be seen, and the iconic clothing, vernacular, etc. of the era could be pretty easily placed in a more modern setting. Of course, if you're not referencing dates, I don't see how it matters.
     
  15. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    You can also change it entirely, like in "Hunger Games", "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter". Make the people work places where EM type signals can damage something or other, so no cell phones allowed, kinda-thing. Your story occurs in a Faraday cage!
     

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