A Taste of the Future

One of the great things about reading science fiction is receiving a glimpse into the future. It’s not true of every science fiction writer, but a great many of them are well read in the social and scientific trends of their day and weave that knowledge into their writing, extrapolating out to take a guess at where we all might be in a few decades, centuries, or millennia. Of course, predicting the future is a hard business, and it’s a truism that nothing dates so quickly as science fiction. Still, Verne had men travelling to the moon, Clarke foresaw the communications satellite, and Gibson gave us cyberpunk and the kind of brain-computer interfaces that are even now emerging into the light.

I’m even guilty of it myself, in the short stories that I’ve written that veer into the science fiction arena. I’m not claiming any great foresight, but I do enjoy finding here and there among the materials that I read an idea or two that sparks a story. In some cases, the original inspiration gets forgotten. So I don’t really know where I got the idea for “Life and Death on the Edge of Unreason“. I suspect I just liked the idea of an observation station orbiting a star about to go supernova. As settings for a detective story go, it’s pretty evocative.

It’s not the best story I’ve ever written – the fact is that a detective story in a panopticon society with instant access to information is never going to work well. Still, I was reminded pleasantly of it when I read this article, all about  one of the main elements in the story – a charred planet surviving in a star’s outer layers. Pleased enough to be inspired to tidy it up and offer it here as some Christmas reading material. I hope you enjoy it.

4 thoughts on “A Taste of the Future”

  1. Although I don’t write Science Fiction, I used to read a fair bit, especially John Wyndham. As a writer, I find the obsession with genre really irritating, as if novels can be pigeonholed that easily. A good story is a good story whatever the label. Keep writing.

    1. Thanks. I write mostly science fiction and fantasy, but I try to read as widely as I can. There are some fascinating writers whose work avoids pigeonholing all right.

  2. I’ve always had an affection for Jonah Starke – and remembering enjoying this story (you shared an earlier version elsewhere, awhile ago?). Thanks for the reminder – and the article too. A dying star… such a rich setting, you can almost feel the loneliness and desolation.

    1. I’m sure it was shared somewhere on a site that no longer exists. Almost a story in itself that: “The Web Site of Lost Stories”. Glad you enjoyed it – as I mentioned, it doesn’t work as the detective story it appears to be, but it (and I) was mostly concerned with how people deal with being in an oppressive/overwhelming location.

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