Hey Space Cadets, I hope everyone is doing great and voted in my friends Clash of the Covers contest! I’m still working on the Four Horsemen Anthology and hit a bit of a time snag. Try not to shudder, but I had to do something disgusting and unpleasant…. I filed my taxes today. I know, I cried too, there’s no shame in it! As for the next novel in the Sleeping Legion Series, well I’ll start outlining that this month and writing it as well. I will keep you posted on the progress as I try to bump up my production speeds! Pulp glory here I come!
Now, on to my World Building Wednesday topic!! Onward I say! Today we talk about how I figure out the technology of my futuristic worlds. Let’s start with your restrictions, which is especially important if you’re writing in someone else’s sandbox. In Boss Man’s universe there is no such thing as FTL because science doesn’t think it is viable at the moment. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, but because of the perceived improbability of this method, he decided against using it. Other limitations imposed on your technological development might come from your subgenre; is it space opera, military science fiction or hard science fiction.
A famous example of how this played out would be from Star Trek, where they got around the limitations of science as we know it by using warp drive. This used Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity. He speculated that the speed of light in a vacuum will be the same from any frame of reference moving at a constant speed. I won’t go all technical (Translation, I don’t know all of it), but basically it showed that FLT wasn’t possible. However, he speculated that you could instead bend space-time to traverse long distances in an expedited manner. Then Mexican physicist, and SciFy Nerd, Miquel Alcubierre theorized it might actually possible, without violating the theories of his predecessors. Way back in the dark ages of 1994! I mean, they didn’t even have Facebook back then. Or Myspace, for us old timers in attendance! If you want to know more, click the links at the bottom of this post.
When I write science fiction in my own universe I plan on running with the theory Dr. Alcubierre gave us and traveling faster than light, if not in fact, then in deed. So, now that you’ve considered your own limitations you need a starting point. I tend to look at science and technology as we know it and then postulate where it might go in the distant future. This is mostly guess work, lots of technical research and some good ole fashioned SWAG! Not that kind of swag, but a scientific wild arse guess! Okay, quasi scientific in my case but work with me here! This does require you to know your world so you can have the end points, since the starting points would be today.
How do I stay abreast, well I follow several science blogs that break it down for you Barney Style. I’ll work on collating it for you as soon as I can. Another way I use is to pick the brain of my father-in-law, a trained biologist and my dad who’s a mechanic who understands machines. Then I made friends with people way smarter than I, and let them prevent me from looking like an idiot. Well, more of an idiot than normal!
To recap, basically I do some research to know the limitations I’m starting with and then I guess where things might go in the future. But that’s how I do it, what is your process?
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.