What makes my current science fiction novel different from other novels is its basis in truth. While some may say that the ideas are
outlandish, I largely took the idea from today's headlines regarding advances in technology. And taken that most technology the public reads about is already five years old it may be that things are less far fetched than even I think.
At the time I write this, October 31st, 2013, MIT and Berkeley have come out with a form of lightsabers, scientists are trying to harvest elephant ovum in the hopes to clone a woolly mammoth with frozen blood found in the Russian Steppes, a living plastic polymer that can repair itself has been created by the Center for Electrochemical Technologies in Spain, Frubber is an actual product, robots are being used as gunmen in war areas, rabbits are being engineered to glow in the dark, oil and food products are being made from algae, rhesus monkeys are being wired to functional robotic arms, apple is working on a computer that powers itself off your bioenergy, the Qylatron is being tested in airports as a portable autonomous scanner and they are working on portable CAT scanners, 3D printers are being programmed to make food, cloaking devices are being tested by the military, scientists are able to teleport photons 90% effectively, the list goes on.
Of course I don't put all of this into my novels, just most of it. The truly amazing and scary thing is that I didn't have to make up too much, and by setting it in the future I can extrapolate those ideas and take them to just beyond their logical conclusion.
The future is scary, mostly because it is unknown. Instead of trying to make a threatening future (and there is a level of thrill, because what's a good story without a climax), I'm trying to capture the good side of the unknown.
The surprising "good side" of the unknown is the Christmas gift, where you have no idea what it is but you are excited about it.
And that's missing from a lot of science fiction these days. In the early parts of the 20th century the future was gleaming and humanity had a direction. Then it slowly became darker and something to be feared, and I'm not sure entirely why it happened.
One of my favourite sci-fi shows shared this dream in several incarnations: Star Trek.
That's what I tried to do with this novel. I try not to skirt around major issues, but neither do I cast all life into a mass of doom and
gloom they way Margaret Atwood's (excellent) Oryx & Crake series does, or gritty and dirty like Bladerunner.
I still hold hope for humanity. Many environmentalists tell me that we will all choke to death on our own effluence and my mind sometimes agrees. But my heart will bet its life to be wrong.
Prove me wrong, humanity.
Shove my pessimism in my face.