This is the first of an intended series on writing futuristic fiction, and the research performed in pursuit of the facts, to make any ‘predictions’ as accurate as possible. A novelist and short story writer, I always start with characters, since character-driven stories best present any narrative. Most also have one or more themes under exploration. It’s those themes this series will investigate.
For me, the primary question is the ‘why’ of events. Why do things happen the way they do? What are the causes? And who benefits from any given situation, political, social, commercial or philosophical stance?
Obviously, in dealing with events in the future, we need to examine many different aspects of life. I’ve produced a list of 100 subjects that may impact on such a story. Not all will be fundamental to every tale, but an awareness of these topics will inform the storyteller in ways that will inevitably influence the direction of any story, so all will at least influence it. With such a long list to consider, perhaps the best method of approach is simple alphabetical order.
The list covers many themes, some of which are interrelated and some entirely isolated, but I’m starting with ‘Accommodation’.
Setting a story in the future, whether that’s five or five million years hence, needs some understanding by the author of where characters will spend their time for sleeping, relationships, leisure, exercise, work, shopping, education, and possible political activity. What will be the influence on such structures of the passing time?
Immediately, we encounter the need to think in broad terms, since many factors, social, environmental, traditional, cultural, and technical among them, will impact on future construction for such activities.
Will we continue to use family homes, multi-occupational units, barracks, hotels, theatres, cinemas, warehouses, workshops, factories… the list of speculation goes on. And there’s no clear answer. We can only guess at what the future might hold for us in terms of where we live, work, learn and find spiritual, mental, and physical health.
For the near future, the guesswork can be based on what we currently experience added to an awareness of the changes that are happening now and those we can imagine developing over the next few years.
But the distant future is so packed with unknowns that the most important factor in arriving at possibilities is the quality of the writer’s imagination. What’s your vision of our future living and working spaces?
As this series is intended as both a spur to writing future fiction and a useful resource for those who’d like to try it, I’ll include some research sources with each post.
Emerging trends in architecture.
Future architecture platform (Huge resource)
And, for those who prefer to be shown, a YouTube resource.
Examples of my own vision of the future can be experienced in the novella, The Methuselah Strain, and the Generation Mars trilogy of novels.