They’re inventing the driverless car; they’re inventing the internet contact lens; they’re inventing the human body shop, whereby we can grow any organ of the body; they’re beginning to tease apart the aging process. All of us will have this technology. All of us will live longer. All of us will know exactly what’s happening because we’ll have the internet in our contact lens. And we’re not going to be happier as a consequence.
~ Michio Kaku
My upcoming novella, Void Voyage 1: I Shall Not Rest in Peace, is set in our solar system, 500 years from now. How can one fathom the technology of a time so far removed from today? What if I come up with something on the cutting edge in my book, only to have a scientist come out with something better a year later? With a story so close to home (compared to Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars), will Void Voyage live on through the ages?
My favorite sci-fi book was written more than 30 years ago. Frank Herbert’s Dune developed a very novel piece of tech for its time called the hunter-seeker. Assassins would control this device in a nearby room (no Wi-Fi I guess). The device was so small, in fact, that the camera could barely see its target, limiting an attack to movement instead of actual sight. When the protagonist, Paul, ran into one of these, he simply had to stand very still until it passed him by. The action came about when one of his servants unknowingly entered the room. Should Paul risk his life to save another, or should he let this servant die? This was a powerful demonstration, written to show the reader what manner of person Paul would become.
Dune was set thousands of years from now, people could even travel between the stars, and yet, Frank Herbert didn’t think a small, clear-pictured camera controlled from hundreds of miles away was feasible.
We already have tiny cameras placed on the ends of wires to peek inside a crack. US Air Force pilots fly predator drones from across the globe. Yet when Dune came out in 1976, the hunter-seeker was a revolutionary thing, on the cutting edge of technology as they knew it. More important than this, even though the tech is largely outdated, how it was used in the story gave way to clever writing, enough to outlast its primitive foresight.
Now with so many new inventions coming out daily, and computers getting faster and faster, a sci-fi author’s powers of speculation must be better than ever. To help me in this, I am reading a fascinating book by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
Learn more about it here
This book asks the same questions I do, answering them in a believable way. Kaku answers what our life will be like 100 years from now. It is a helpful read, showing me how far behind I am in my own sci-fi book. Thus I have had to revise some things (One of the few joys to not yet publishing a story). It is also exciting to find many of my ideas are more advanced then what Michio Kaku has written them to be; they can even be seen as a natural outgrowth, conceivably happening 400 years after his predictions come to fruition.
To help explain some of this, I have set up a mock interview with myself. Let us dive deeper into the future tech of Void Voyage. Add any questions you have in the comment section and I’ll be happy to answer them. Physics of the Futures has had a huge impact on the answers I will give, though; I must admit… my vision for the future has largely been spot on… so far.
Me: What would an average person do in the Void Voyage universe?
Myself: Well first of all he wouldn’t have to work for a living. By then we would have fusion plants meaning a nearly infinite energy supply. We could simply make enough synthetic food so that no one would starve. Robots would handle all the hard labor. This would divide our society into two major, distinctive cultures. The average Joe would have a choice: mooch off the free ride that various planetary governments would provide, or work for fun through science, sports, and the arts. Transportation between the planets might be the only real job left, and half of those will be taken up by robots.
People will live much longer and with so much time, entertainment will play a greater role than ever. Our children’s children will have moved far beyond the primitive movie genre. Everything will be interactive, stories able to be touched and chosen by an individual or groups. Think of the holodeck on Star Trek The Next Generation. Video games are a small step in this direction.
Religion and philosophy will also be on the rise. Everyone will be seeking meaning and happiness in their very long and sometimes dreary lives. Suicide may even become an acceptable release after living for over a hundred years.
Me: Will there still be wars?
Myself: Do chickens have feathers? Can cheetahs run fast? Are some humans arrogant enough to demand that others follow or die? The answer to all of these questions is yes!
Me: Will there be interstellar travel?
Myself: Yes and no. Humans will stay within the solar system. Probes will have traveled far enough to view any nearby stars. It turns out that space is rather vast and light speed impossible to break. Michio Kaku surmises that we will be able to send small particles at, or above, the speed of light. This means that nanobots will be the first interstellar explorers. This is why I have set Void Voyage firmly in our own backyard. Have no fear… it turns out we have quite the view.
Me: How long are you planning to write the Void Voyage series?
Myself: Well, I’m only on the first novella. But I do plan to write many more. In fact I have plans for stories set at least a thousand years after this one (that’s 1,500 years from now, for those who are counting). This means I will be writing many stories in Void Voyage for many more years to come.
Me: With all the changes in the due date , when will Void Voyage 1 actually come out?
Myself: I have been hard at working with perfecting this story. Both my father and a good friend named Markus have demo-read it. They loved the story (though my dad slaughtered it with more red ink than I had seen in ages!) So I am reworking through some of the aesthetics and wording of the story.
Nothing major will be changed though. The grammar and story are very sound (thanks to my editor). Those two parts are down pact. This means I do not think I will have it out by mid June as I had planned. When will it be out? I cannot say for certain any more. Just understand that I am close to finishing it. You will see it, when you will see it, and as always, I’ll keep you posted.
Even if bits of my story grow technologically stagnate compared to any upcoming science, the story itself could be something to last the ages. You the people, and time will make me wrong… or right.