23 May 2010

The Way I Write the Future

I really want to say I just sit down and write what I think things will be like tempered with how I would like them to become, but that is not accurate. I do a lot of research, with lots of help since I began writing the Suki series last year.  So, let me try to break it down a little.
When I was younger, by definition my body of experience was limited. I could read about past events, but tying them together and noticing trends usually (always?) resulted in incorrect predictions. I always found 'futuristic accuracy' to be important.  Now that I am pushing fifty and still the news junkie I was as a kid, trends are easier to notice. One of them is the liberalization of society. No pejorative tone there either and there is no arguing around it. North American society has been on a continued social liberalization trend since Columbus and there is no sign of that changing. South American, European and East Asian societies, save for a few pockets, are trending the same way. Not going to speculate on Africa, I haven’t followed events there that much.

With that backdrop, I can speculate or even predict that all recreational drug use will continue, increase, become more common, less stigma, etc. I think back to a William F. Buckley, Jr. speech where he mentions how society had moved in the aspect of litter, drugs and sex. Not quoting exactly, but the punch line was to the effect: Today an unmarried couple might smoke a joint on a boat then have sex with a condom, but it would be a ‘sin’ to toss the used condom or roach into the sea afterward. In my futures, any recreational drug you hear of now is available and either legal or tolerated. In the original series, the couple abstains from all of it. In Suki With A Twist, they are both responsible users of many things.

That is the kind of idea that I go with for the future. Multiple partner relationships appear to be on the fringe today, on the surface, but over the years I finally noticed how common it actually is in reality. In the future, I write, that is a common and open practice. Not something that interests me at all in my personal life, just something I do not see going onto decline. It also made for something to make the John and Suki characters unique against the other characters. They are the only characters in my books that seek a monogamous relationship and back it up by the way they act. I got most of my future society feedback from Derek Walker, named on sever book covers as a contributor. He got me to rethink a few things and helped with the stories too.

In fashion, I have noticed things from the fetish world become mainstream, especially in cities. Necklaces that look like chokers, or “slave” collars, extreme spike heel shoes for the women, more corset-style waists on outfits, the list goes on. Not seeing that change either, seems to be accelerating now. Sometimes I will pick a societal rule and carry it into the future with no idea if it will continue or die. I remember when it was a big deal for women to wear pants in the workplace, now it is common. Someone mentioned a “rule” for women just before I began writing Suki I, legs always covered in the office. Had heard of it before too, about ten years earlier. So I tossed that in, just as the “crazy pattern hose” fad erupted. When I was in my 20’s there was a lace-pattern hosiery fad that came and went, decades later fishnets are common and now odd crisscross patterns are everywhere. They get a mention, not going away in the future.

Imagine if the color of your clothes could change on the fly? I wondered if it was possible and discovered electrochromic polymers, but today they cannot be spun into a fabric. Pretty sure someone will figure out how in the next 20 years and some men, many women, will be wearing color morphing outfits.

A trap I did not want to fall into was underestimating the progress of gadgetry. And I fell right into it in the first series, I think I fixed it in the second. NO FLYING CARS! I knew you were thinking that and I don’t use them. I despise time travel too, unless it is a story about time travel. Otherwise, it always comes across as a cheap device for the writer to escape a corner they have written themselves into. I am looking at you, Star Trek. I concentrate on the devices people use every day, but I did sort of cheat. I gave Suki and her mother hypnosis abilities, the classic kind that some people think works today. It did come in handy several places and backfires badly early. When the couple is severely traumatized, having Jung as an expert hypnotherapist, in addition to other skills, comes in very handy.

Something I think I underestimated in the original series was computing interfaces. I have two varieties of “phones,” something that is traditional like the iPhone of today, but with more computing power, that John and Suki’s mother, Jung, use and then I have “gogs” that Suki and her peers use. Gogs are simply glasses with transparent LED screens and earbuds for sound.

After more research between books and a few new technology press releases, I decided that those are just around the corner and will be ‘ancient’ by the 2030’s. Saran and Suki helped jump my mind forward when they came up with deeply inserted earbuds and contacts with video. I added smaller, powerful computers with massive memory, also small. I needed a power source and don’t see batteries really increasing in storage capacity for what I wanted, so I reduced the power consumption of the devices to work with a thermocouple, using the body heat of the user, and some chemistry for the screens, using the saline of the eye as a reactive power source.

Something else I updated in Suki With A Twist, doing laundry. John’s big “single chamber” washer/dryer senses what has been placed in it, does an analysis, applies the right temperatures and detergents and runs. That is another trend that is never going to stop, appliances moving towards effortlessness. Compare a VCR of old with one now.

As far as the law goes, I am a less is better sort of person. Being a Libertarian and preferring the founder’s original intent of the Constitution, a Libertopia of that sort would be fun to write. But I tempered it with what I notice happens with the law. The place where I illustrate it most obviously is in Suki II: Sunshine Returns. The couple’s attackers use marriage, paternity and the court system to hatch a plot to steal the couple’s money. It was surprisingly simple. The only thing I see getting streamlined for citizens the legal process is filing actions with them, so I made it possible to electronically marry, with same-sex marriage legal too. Getting divorced? Electronically file that too. Equitable property division? Not so fast! Especially if the “injured” party in the relationship is the only one showing up in court.

Matters of health are advancing rapidly. What if an embryo could be “harvested” from the birth mother after implantation and transferred to a surrogate? Then imagine the risk a wealthy male would be taking whenever he had sex with a woman who could be fertile. Now, what court wouldn’t enforce child support against the man? They show no signs of changing there, even if the woman tricks the man into pregnancy. I do use genetic testing to prove whom the baby belongs to and that might improve in the future.

As for the bondage/discipline aspects of the story, I have no idea of that is going to be more common in the future than it is today. I just gave the likes to the couple to make more exciting private scenes with them. They do stick with the “sane set” limits, safe-words, etc. in both series.

That’s all for now!

PS, Suki II: Sunshine Returns, is still available as a free PDF download.  I think it might be cheaper to order the paperback instead of downloading and printing, the option is yours. Can read on Scribd now too.

Suki Series Background Suki Series Tech Order the paperback edition of Suki V: The Collection Browse the series on Google: Suki I, Suki II, Suki III, Suki IV, Suki V Fan Fiction: John and Suki: Vacation Fun

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