My childhood was filled with Star Wars and Star Trek. Later I discovered Stargate. Some of my favorite authors are Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Science fiction is my favorite genre to read, watch, and write. It has been an important part of my childhood and one my favorites parts of my life now.
The future is always an interesting prospect. Whether we are living in fear of where our technology will take us or we are excited for humanity’s next great steps. Writers are constantly trying to create their own versions of the future. They make up advanced technology that seems light-years beyond anything we have now. Unfortunately, we often catch up to science fiction or prove parts of it completely wrong.
Star Trek is a great example of this. We have the computer technology that their starships have. Our phones are actually better than their communicators. Their science is now our science. Now I watch Star Trek and I always laugh a little bit at their technology and how advanced they thought it was. So as science fiction writers how do we deal with creating technology that is believable but still futuristic enough to stay ahead of the real world?
I think that the most important factor in developing science fiction technology is staying current with the technology our world is developing now. You can do this by just keeping up with the news to see what major breakthroughs are happening. I like to get updates from major science research organizations like MIT, NASA, and DARPA. These organizations are creating things I didn’t even know was possible.
The second most important factor for creating science fiction technology is staying caught up with what other science fiction writers are developing. Science fiction stories are often defined by having a unique element that sets it apart. Usually this manifests itself into something iconic. Star Wars has lightsabers. Stargate has, well, stargates. iRobot has artificial intelligence. These are all concepts which appear in various forms in many stories but each of them takes a unique spin on the concept and that is what is important. Making it unique.
If I was going to start wrapping this up I would also state that science fiction is never going to be perfect. It is human nature to advance. I should hope that the science fiction writers who got to live long enough to see their creations become a reality should be proud.
Science fiction can be a lot of fun. You can theorize about a different future than we are look at. You can try to create a realistic future and predict humanity’s path. But whatever the purpose of your story it will always be critical to set it apart. There may be nothing new under the sun; but I think there may be a lot of new ways to look at our future. I would love to hear about your favorite science fiction elements.