book with furutistic ideas to suffer by the time it hits shelves?

shamguy4

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So i havent been here in a while.... (which means I have not been writing much....but nevermind that...)

If your writing a futuristic book, do you ever get afraid that since technology is booming nowadays, your book might suffer by the time it hits the shelves?

In my book I use holograms and that sort of stuff... but then I see movies or books where its far beyond that....and between ipads and tablets and social media...
I wonder if my book needs an update...

Or is it the content and the story that is most important and readers wont care.
After all, medieval books do quite well and its ok that merlin does not have a facebook page.
 

Brian G Turner

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Well, if I recall, a big subplot in William Gibson's Neuromancer involves having access to a computer memory of a couple of megabytes, which is seen as a massive leap in technology. Laughable now, but it's still a strong and popular book.

If you can see weaknesses now, then correct them - but you are unlikely to be able to accurately predict the future, so I wouldn't sweat on the shelf-life of the details you use - so long as they are consistent with your world.
 

Ursa major

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If you trot over to Charles Stross's blog, you'll see that he's had problems with reality catching him up while he's writing a first draft. For example, look at these paragraphs of this recent blogpost of his:
Every time I think I've maxed out the satire and rotated the dial all the way up to 11, something from the Snowden leaks surfaces and the spooks make my worst paranoid tin-foil hat ravings and confabulated satire look ploddingly mundane.

I'm used to having this problem when writing near future SF—back in 2008-9 I kept having Halting State moments as bits of the background to that novel kept coming true—but right now, well, I'm just boggling. I've got a subplot for this trilogy (no spoilers!) which I think is up there with anything reality can throw at us and which is hopefully funny, plausible, and crazy (but in an "it just might be true" kind of way). Only now, I'm getting a sick feeling in my stomach. One month before publication, there's going to be a bombshell revelation and an ancient festering spyware secret will surface, blinking in the light of day like half-mummified groundhogs (Secret Squirrel need not apply!) and my satirical thriller will be obsolete.


Or a couple of paragraphs from here:
The second novel in 2010 is a surprise substitute: rather than the previously-scheduled sequel to "Halting State", it's going to be book #3 in the Laundry files: "The Fuller Memorandum"...
Why the switch? Well, I was just settling down to work on the "Halting State" sequel last summer when the news went nonlinear. That book is meant to be near-future SF, which means it's highly dependent on the state of the world today. It was bad enough when, as I was waiting for "Halting State" to work its way into print, bits of the plot kept turning up in the news; this time around, one of last year's major news stories ate my plot! So I decided to (a) go back to the drawing board, and (b) wait for the financial crisis to settle down a bit. I'm now in the re-planning stages, and the book should see the light of day in mid-2011.)
 

Tower75

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So i havent been here in a while.... (which means I have not been writing much....but nevermind that...)

If your writing a futuristic book, do you ever get afraid that since technology is booming nowadays, your book might suffer by the time it hits the shelves?

In my book I use holograms and that sort of stuff... but then I see movies or books where its far beyond that....and between ipads and tablets and social media...
I wonder if my book needs an update...

Or is it the content and the story that is most important and readers wont care.
After all, medieval books do quite well and its ok that merlin does not have a facebook page.

Actually, yes. I really like SF, but one of he reasons i wouldn't attempt to write 'standard' SF, if that's a term, is that I truly have no idea where the human condition will be in XYZ years time.

Think about it, technology, social media, as you say, and just the social mentality will be unrecognisable in about, what, 20, 30, 50 years from now?

Try explaining to a chap from 1890 this mad social convention of Facebook, or not being allowed to smack your child when they're bad, or smoke in public, or being shunned for saying something that's quite innocent in 1890, but is 'ooh, you can't say that' in 2013.

Who knows, anything can happen, in 100 years time, it might be a complete social taboo to kiss your partner in public, or you might be arrested for making someone feel upset.

People in 30 years time might start having computers implanted into their eyes, or something similar.

Essentially, what I'm getting a is that the future's scary. Run! :D
 

SciFrac

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I can't predict technological advances or poltical changes whatsoever. That's why I write about magic.
 

shamguy4

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im writing a scifi-fantasy.
mostly magic, but i keep feeling like I need to be more futuristic if its to take place in a galaxy.

then there is this little voice that keeps saying that I should use a different setting...
this has been a dilemma in my head for quite some time and I am trying to see the pros and cons of each.

Either way it is to be a futuristic world and I need it to feel that way by the time it is written.
 

Tyburn

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I recently had an idea of a spaceship of the future where the bridge (or command centre) was more like a lounge, with large comfortable chairs. Each crewmember had an iPad-like device which gave them all the information and control they needed. When shifts changed and the new helmsman had to take control, he just found an empty seat, sat in it and confirmed he was ready, whereupon the previous helm 'swiped' the controls over to him with a single sweep of a finger. Even if an important person's station suddenly crashed, someone else could easily take over in a few moments, as all major bridge crew were trained to do everyone else's job as well as their own.
 

Glitch

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I had a feature of cars where they could call the emergency services in the event of an accident. When I researched the idea I found the EU is planning to make such technology mandatory in a few years. It's only a minor device in my story when it fails to work. As such I didn't see the need to change anything.
 

Aurora Skye

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Technology! Can't predict it nor I fear can we stay ahead of it. For what it's worth, I think a well written story hooks you and matters more than anything.
 

Beef

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I'm slightly worried about my book, since it's set on a spacestation orbiting the largest moon of Pluto. There's a probe heading there in 2015. I suspect it'll discover something that renders all my descriptions of the landscape quite ridiculous.
 

jastius

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here is a link to hubble photos..

gall_surfacechanges_0.jpg


is it a furry book?

anyways, this is a discussion of the surface of pluto as extrapolated from the features of neptune...
Pluto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Surface of Pluto
and this describes the major details.
 

Mirannan

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The surface of Pluto (and probably other Kuiper Belt objects, at least the ones nearest to the Sun) may well look quite a lot like Triton. The general composition appears to be roughly the same.
 

Christopher A. Gray

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My soon to be published novel deals with a lot of present day technology, and some near-future computing. When I started writing it over a year ago I had a protagonist using a BlackBerry phone. Now with their recent troubles, there might not be any more BlackBerry phones for sale in the near future, which would prematurely date my book. I removed the brand reference, reluctantly, since I admire the product.
 

Beef

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Ha, yes, well I have done some research into the matter. I am going with the scientific consensus, but I still harbour some crazy worry that all that grey stuff will turn out to be an enormous spherical wooly jumper knitted by some ancient alien civilisation. And Charon could be just a Mass Relay. ;)
 

Beef

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I'm not sure this sort of thing matters too much, anyway. At least from a technological/brand perspective. Look at the film Blade Runner: set in the year 2019, and there are giant corporate billboards everywhere: Atari? Bell? Where are they now? Has that film aged in the slightest?

Perhaps this is one of those things where people are willing to suspend their disbelief, if the book is good enough.
 

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