Monday, July 13, 2015

Looking Back on the Near Future


On Friday, my first novel Inherit the Stars scored an A+ review on Reading Reality review site. If you'd like to get a general sense of what the story is all about without any major spoilers, you can read the very insightful review here: Reading Reality 

This week, we're taking a look ahead at my next novel in The Inherited Stars series.

The Outer Planets, my Near Future SFR, is in the final phases of polishing before it goes off to the editors. I’m really excited to see what kind of reception this one will get from readers. It fills a niche that isn’t often seen in SFR—that of a future that’s within the lifetime of most readers.

Take a step into the year 2039—just 24 years from now.

Oh and my heroine? She'll turn three years old on 9/9/15. 

Creating a Near Future world presents some fun, but challenging, twists. When there’s a reference in the story to “His Majesty, the King of England,” I think most readers can guess who's holding that title.

Writing Near Future SFR is somewhat like writing Contemporary--but with cooler tech. The world and society isn’t all that much different from what we know today, it’s just a bit older, wiser and more battle worn.

In the year 2039, the next couple of decade are past tense. The world is experiencing a new dawn, emerging from borderline dystopia, where a global economic collapse and continuing climate change resulted in a scramble to survive. 

In previous decades, the melting ice sheets decreased the salt content of the oceans and partially altered the currents of the Atlantic Conveyor, throwing weather patterns into chaos. While the oceans rose, drowning coastline cities worldwide, drought turned former breadbasket regions into dustbowls. The effects on society are dire.

Water riots became commonplace. Mobs formed to loot stores—not to steal goods and electronics to resell on the street--but to take the food they need for themselves and their families to survive. 

In rural areas, communities formed raid gangs that stripped crops clean and butchered livestock on neighboring farms. Moral principles took a back seat to survival. Outbreaks of anarchy prevailed. The United Nations disbanded as governments refocused on maintaining order inside their own borders and protecting their citizens. Police states and martial law became commonplace.

By 2030, the climate begins to stabilize, thanks to an enforced scale back in greenhouse gas emissions, and the world returns to more normal conditions, socially and economically, leaving mankind still shaking in its boots at what could have been.

And what might be again in the not too distant future.

The Nations is formed, a multi-national entity with a focus on expanding and diversifying mankind’s interests beyond the “all the eggs in one basket” scenario of having the fate of the species tied to one planet.

International resources are pooled to re-ignite a global space exploration program. ASP—Armstrong Space Port—with its orbiting shipyards begins construction in orbit in 2030 and is completed by the close of 2035. A year later it houses a population of over 15,500 military, corporate and support personnel.

With regular shuttle flights from ASP, temporary bases are constructed on the Moon and Mars as the first step in establishing permanent mining operations.

With the fire-up of ASP comes Project Destination. Spearheaded by The Nations, it’s an ambitious multi-national exploratory mission to the Outer Planets—Jupiter and Saturn—or more specifically the 100+ moons they share between them—to identify resources, future colony sites, and launching points for interstellar missions to other solar systems.

Construction of the Nations’ Star Ship—NSS Destination—begins. And the debate about crew selection begins…

Your turn to envision the future. How do you see it? Do you think it might unfold much like the past described in The Outer Planets or do you think mankind will take a very different course?

Next Week: Building a Crew

3 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I lean more toward the dystopian near future of Neal Asher's Owner trilogy (book one runs along a similar sort of line to the film Elysium, where the rich and powerful live in utopia, space travel is possible, and the poor have to slum it on Earth). I believe we might make it to other planets, but that it won't improve some of our more negative aspects as a species.

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  2. Thanks, Pippa. I guess I always take the Star Trek perspective on the future in that I hope it will be brighter and more enlightened, but I have to agree that we, as a species, don't seem capable of achieving utopia.

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    1. It's sad. We are capable of so many great things. If only we could focus on that instead of destruction.

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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.