It’s very easy to create a universe, just make up names for a few planets, give them rough characteristics and you’re away. Add a spaceship, a person and a problem and you have a novel.
Well, it works for me.
Which is fine, up to a point. In writing, it’s easy to get the big picture, the overview that you can make a story out of. Creating the broad canvas is enough to start you off on the adventure.
When you actually get down to the job of filling in the gaps, there’s a deeper layer of creation that needs to be done.
I’m talking about the little things that create a feeling of authenticity. Even if we’re far into the future, or in an alternative now, it’s the details that make you feel at home.
As we all know, everyone has foibles, little things that they do. It makes them who they are. Like a poker player’s tell or a certain style of behaviour. In the same way, inanimate objects often seem to have sentient quirks, they won’t work when you really need them to or they will only perform properly if treated in a certain way.
Because it’s how things are now, by recreating that same feeling in the world of your story, you can make it seem familiar, relatable. Do it well and the reader will believe that it exists.
One important fact is on your side when you’re world-building. The world of the future will be like the world we know in a lot of ways. Wherever you may site your tale, all mankind’s vices and habits will be there. Not only that, I’m pretty sure we will still want a decent cup of coffee, need a comfortable chair and relish friendships, just like we do today.
There will be things that you could create for your new world that you could imagine existing now, that would make sense to produce. Things that fulfil a specific need in your world, that help make sense of a part of the story. They might be new ideas or ways of using things that already exist in a sci-fi setting. All that’s required is to give them a bit of an upgrade or repurpose.
I like to add touches like this to my worlds, just the odd use of technology or way of thinking, things like square coffee cups to make them easier to carry, or turbine electrical generators that you drop into running water to charge your devices while you sleep.
They’re only my take on what technology and society might develop to help face the challenges of the future.
If, like me, you keep an eye on the latest technology, you can find all sorts of new ideas, most of which are not widely known. They’re all exciting and a glimpse into the future that I’m happy to take and modify.
What I’ve found and what I know has proved to me that we could probably survive on an alien world now, if only we could get to one.
With enough creature comforts to make it feel like home.
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