A Sci-Fi Writing Adventure

July 08, 2020 Tom Kranz Season 1 Episode 1
A Sci-Fi Writing Adventure
Show Notes Transcript

Writing science fiction is fun and challenging. Engaging sci-fi fans requires your science at least SOUNDS feasible. 

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I just released my first science fiction novel I called a time travel rescue. Reading science fiction was not as easy as I thought it would be, because there has to actually be science in science fiction. Not surprisingly.

So I found that just making stuff up, only goes so far. It's great to have ideas about what the future may be like. But unless it's anchored in some modicum of science, and a kind of a common ground of truth, it's it comes off as just being, you know, fantasy. And fantasy is a great genre for books, but it's not mine. So I had this idea for a long time, about a society where in the future where everything is based on high speed transport meaning every time you stepped out of your house, you had to be careful that you, you wouldn't be killed by some high speed transportation zooming by that it was all about transports that held a lot of people that traveled incredibly fast to get people from poi nt A to point B. And that the transport devices or transport venues, whatever you want to call them actually were the dominant force on Earth, people would kind of revolve their lives around getting from point A to point B and moving quickly from place to place where the transportation itself became the thing.

And I thought about that, and I came up with what I call in my current book, the Interconnect or the IC as I abbreviate it, which is essentially a worldwide transport that travels at just under the speed of sound over a kind of a concrete cattle chute type of right-of-way. And it levitates off the Earth. I call it n egative gravity is what it is what it rests on. And so of course, it can go fast without friction, etc, etc. Excuse me, it's based on a much more advanced version of what the maglev truck trains did when they were popular. But I, I really didn't feel like I could sustain an entire novel just based on that, that if this became the center of all things, I just kind of thought it limited the plot possibilities and the story possibilities. So I made the IC an element of time travel rescue. I made that the primary venue of transportation in the 23rd century where I made cars and personal transportation illegal because of the pollution they caused, and because of the congestion they caused. And I made it a component. And I indeed made it the venue through which my protagonist actually travels through time.

So that was kind of where the the story began. And then it kind of grew into a bigger story about the environment. And I really don't know how you can write science fiction about the future of Earth now without referencing the possibilities of the climate decline that we're now experiencing, and that we're continuing to ignore on a large scale. What's it going to be like in 150 years, you know, what's going to be left, who's going to be left, e tc, etc. So , I tried to address that as a kind of a theme that runs through the book. And the idea that our protagonist from the future, the only way they can he can reverse things is to go back in time to the 21st century, basically 30 years from now, the year 2055 I think, when the earth is just starting to deal in a real way with the climate problems and kind of erase some of the obstacles to dealing with t hat.

And in doing so, I came up with things like self driving cars. And this would be, you know, something that would we would see in our current in our current century, I figured by the year 2055, we'll have self driving cars, where you actually can get into the car, tell the car where to go, it'll navigate. It'll be on a special roadway that allows you to navigate and you can actually take a nap while you're driving to your destination. That's kind of the fantasy that I came up with. And that's actually not out of the question of self driving cars. Here in the year 2019 and 2020 we're not there yet, there have been some pretty bad accidents. And oh, Tesla's Tesla's kind of on the road. And Google's tried it as well. But I'm thinking in another 30 years, we might actually have that for real. So I thought self driving cars would be a reality.

Living homes where all you do is say out loud what you want what you need, that's a possibility because we alr eady kind of have that between Google Home and Alexa. We already are able to speak to artificial intelligences and have them do things like lock our homes and play music and tell us the weather. In the future, I thought that that would do much more coupled not only with voice recognition, but with Retina scans.

So, I think that based on what we know today, I was able to extrapolate some things to happen in the not too distant future to prepare u s for the distant future 150 years from now in the 23rd century. I also found that science fiction you know, the genre itself that I've read the stories I've read the books I've read, you can't lose sight of the fact that science fiction stories have to still be about people, they have to be about humans, they have to be about emotions, they have to be about the human experience. And I have that in in this.

You know, in my current story, there's a story about two lonely people who find each other. There's a story about a very dysfunctional young person. And there are stories about individuals who have a lot of the characteristics that we have in the 21st century now. Things like love, grief, loss, ambition, all that stuff is present in my work and I think that to keep people interested, you have to write about people and not just about gadgets and spaceships and space. I think that when you look back at the original Star Trek, and even at the Star Trek The Next Generation, I think that Gene Roddenberry, you know, who wrote and executive produced a lot of those episodes, was very much about maintaining humanity and the frailties of people and other beings. And those are really the kind of stories that I think are universal and that people can identify with, whether it's in science fiction or Western genre or Fantasy. You have to keep it about people and kind of feelings and situations and the sensibilities that we all have in common. That's what keeps people coming back and that's what keeps people reading.

So I hope you'll give Time Travel Rescue a shot. As I as I've said in some of my relentlessly self promotional materials, it's not just about nerd stuff. It's not just about science and gizmos. It's a story very much about people. And people tried to come up with answers to their own lives and their future here on Earth. So give it a shot.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai