Sunday, September 30, 2018

World building in Science Fiction part 1

There are 2 major questions that I get as a science fiction author:
  1. Where do you get your ideas?
  2. How do you create such a vivid world?
Now the first question is one that authors have been asked for as long as there has been publishing.
“Every artist gets asked the question, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ The honest artist answers, ‘I steal them.’” – Austin Kleon
"From the Idea-of-the-Month Club"  - Neil Gaiman 
"Poughkeepsie.- Harlan Ellison 
 Now for me the where and how do I build my world are intertwined.

So I will try to explain. I looked at current communications technology and the sudden push into wearables. This got me to thinking about what is possible in a wearable and then what impact it could have on society. So from my concept notes:
Personal comms/ net  
Most people have built-in small personal communicator that allows them to communicate and surf the internet with data coming up on retinal implants can provide “heads up display as well as video feed and recording. They also can get full data net access the same way. Wrist pads offer external recording option for when you want to be seen when talking to someone and for holographic displays of data etc. Wrist pads are personalized to look like bracelets, sports bands, old style smart watches, gauntlets etc. Most have basic AI / personal assistant (Siri grown up) 

Ok, so that is the tech, but unless you are into communications technology this will leave you feeling something is missing. So rather than tell it this way in the story, I got to thinking how it would affect society (think about what the car did to society).

             Social side effects:
An always connected intelligence has led to a reduction of personal attacks and reduced problems like rape due to the ability of the semi intelligent devices recording and broadcasting full 3d holograms in real-time to the police, but also the medical state of the victim – preventing the claims of the person asking for it or liking it. The recordings with GPS locations lead to an almost 100% conviction rate that led to a steady decline in violent crimes. It also had the side effect of increasing the legal establishments for those who prefer violent or non-standard behaviors (not just sex) where the employees are either personally enjoying it or good actors who have “signed up” for these acts for quite a high pay.
Some of these effects are suddenly being debated in terms of the auto-call feature in the new iWatch and the rights of police responding to enter without an warrant.

So now I have an interesting future tech, an idea about how it will affect people and how they will interact with it. This leaves the rest of the world.

I chose our Solar System, but you can choose any world or place you want.

In my next installment, I will explain how I build it from the "ground up."

If you want to read about how other authors build their worlds, I do a weekly blog interview at  where you can find many authors discussing the worlds in their novels.

Photos of 2 works by  Lissanne Lake that are hanging on my wall.

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