November 9, 2010

The Goldilocks Zone

As readers know, I've written two sci-fi books (and haven't yet submitted them to a publisher; more on that in a future post).  One of the concepts you have to consider when writing sci-fi is how far in the future you want to set your story.

I have always adored sci-fi.  I can't even imagine how many sci-fi books I've read.  Tons is as close as I can come to a figure.  Some of the stories took place in our century, or even the last century.  Others took the reader on a journey that stretched thousands of years into the future.

The thing is, although it's great fun to imagine the distant future, it's sometimes hard to connect our lives to those of the characters.  It may be a great tale, but as a reader I note that this will not be my future.  I think it's more exciting to read something that seems like it could happen to us -- the people alive today.  When a story holds out a carrot like that, I grab it.

So I set "The Worlds" in the year 2030, not so far off that we can't relate to it, yet not so close that we have trouble believing there could be such an amazing new technology discovered within that timeframe.  It's the sci-fi Goldilocks zone.

The thing I hope people will say when they read The Worlds is,
"I want that!"  I think the book delivers on this score.  It does indeed seem like something that could come along one day.  Maybe 2030 is a bit optimistic but at some point in time we will be able to experience a scientific wonder like the one I made up -- a technology that revolutionizes the very concept of life itself.

I want my worlds to seem reachable. I want us to long for them. I want us to dream.

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