Have you ever seen the movie Somewhere in Time? It featured Superman’s Christopher Reeve in a heartbreaking time traveler’s tale that revolved around a single penny.
Reeve’s character found a way to go back in time by surrounding himself entirely with objects from the past and willing himself back to their period.
His undoing? A single modern penny, forgotten in his pants pocket, that ultimately shatters the illusion and sends him back to his own time.
Writing is like that, especially writing stories of the past or the future.
We all know the present well enough, but throw one bad detail into an historical tale – your Knight of the Round table uttering the word “cool,” or your your Victorian seamstress driving home in her Hundai, and you’ve lost your audience.
Although in the right hands, that could be a really cool story LOL…
The same thing is true about the future, and sci fi readers are especially picky about getting all the details right. Wrote your book about the year 2100 six months ago, before they discovered the hyperdrive? You’re screwed.
And Lord help you if your 25th Century teens are still doing group hangs and using SnapChat.
Every detail of your story has to be forward thinking, futuristic, and of a piece with the rest of your sci fi fabric. Seamless.
If not, it will stick out like a 1996 penny.
It’s hard seeing of the future. We are all products of our time, and writing good sci fi means questioning EVERYTHING in your story. It’s exhausting, but when you pull it off, the results can be amazing.
As sci fi authors, we do the best we can to bring you, dear reader, a future world that’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen. When we do it right, anyway.
To my writer friends – have you ever missed the mark with your future worlds? How? And how do you handle the challenge of making every aspect of the story sparkly and new?