Today I am so pleased to welcome Lexi Ander to Joyfully Jay for Time Travel Week. Lexi has come to talk to us about writing the future, and her release, Alpha Trine (The Valespian Pact, 1). She has also donated some goodies to the Time Travel Week Giveaway! Please join me in giving Lexi a big welcome!
Writing the Future
When asked, no two people have the same idea of what the future looks like. The possibilities are as numerous as there are ideas. So many things are taken into consideration such as technology, advance medicine, types of government, corporate influence, values systems, religious organizations, and the list goes on. But that is only one part, because the characters and their actions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are more central to building a future world. How different would they be from those living in modern day?
The beginning to imagining any futuristic world is asking the question, “What if…” many times over. Sometimes, I like to look at new technology and wonder how long it will actually stick around. If I don’t think the tech is long-lasting, what can replace it and why? I’m always on the lookout for news articles about advances or theories because they can be great for inspiration as well. For instance, I read an article about what humans would look like in one hundred thousand years and could clearly imagine how our future selves looked completely alien to our present selves. But, what if people were impatient with how slowly the body naturally evolved and changed and they used technology to enhance something such as their eyesight or strength? I’ve read plenty of plots where scientists experiment on others for super-soldier programs, but what about cybernetics? What if in the search for longer lives, we begin replacing body parts with biotech? What would the future of humans look like then?
I think writing about the future requires an understanding of the present. One of the harder questions to answer about any civilization are social concerns. We hope the more advanced and knowledgeable we become that our future would be free of prejudices without the need to use the judicial system to mitigate right and wrong. The realistic view is an act such as theft has been around for as long as humans have, proving certain things are bound to stick with us through time.
Futuristic worlds can be idealized to a certain extent until they no longer seem real, becoming more fantasy than a possible reality. (Personally, I find Star Trek to be one because they are too perfect.) But even if the world is unrealistic, humans have certain truths about their character that help to inject some realism into any time period chosen. Not only are humans beautifully flawed and fallible, they can be redeemed. Something else that seems to be a time ‘honored’ truth, is that even though science pushes civilization forward, some cultures get stuck in the past because of tradition or beliefs. Some of them are harmless but others, not so much.
For instance, with spread of education and science, one would think that we have left behind certain things. In the late 1600s the Salem Witch Trials put to death several people because the population was under the belief that witches lived among them. Today, I look back on that with a heavy heart knowing people were tortured for no reason. I’ve read several articles speculating as to why. Hallucinogens in the food? Unknown bacteria in the grain? Religious fervor over something they didn’t understand, and couldn’t explain easily, so was attributed to magic?
The truth is there are still places in the world that haven’t outgrown such beliefs. In Swaziland, a law was passed that witches flying higher than 150 meters would be arrested and fined. In Tanzania, there is a witch doctor black market where human albino body parts are in high demand. Reading these and other such news articles, I can’t help but to wonder what will humanity be holding onto a couple hundred years from now? Oh. Here’s a question for another futuristic world: What measures would it take to make it stop? What would be the consequences?
I have yet to pen about something so brutal. The closest I think I’ve come is writing about an alien species that is compelled to destroy themselves at the age of twenty. Mostly, I tend to stay on the lighter side of speculation. Writing about the future is all about mixing speculation and science together to arrive at a plausible outcome. In the next book in the Valespian Pact series, I’m exploring the humans of the galaxies who are governed, so to speak, by four large corporations. There are definite pros and cons to such a set-up with many “what ifs” and “whys” being tossed about. The hardest part isn’t going to be the characters or the plot, but making that system of government credible and believable without the concept overtaking the story.
Writing about the futures, whether it is centralized on humans or explores the existence of other humanoid species, is essentially an exercise in delving into how an individual(s) would react. Not only that, but as readers, stepping outside ourselves, inserting our minds into a character for a little while to live in a strange reality that is the same yet different from our own. And hopefully finding ourselves learning from and being touched by them.
But what I love most about writing about the future is I get to celebrate diversity in all its forms. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by and reading! I hope you are enjoying the Time Travel Week here at Joyfully Jay, and good luck with the giveaways!
Zeus quickly donned his jacket of chimera scales he had picked up from the engine room, tested the straps on his dual swords, and checked to make sure the Taser would slide easily from his knee-high boots. He watched Amlyn equip. Her skills were too valuable to be locked away, but even with the truce, he would be wary around her. Dargon stepped in front of him, holding a pair of soft grip-gloves used for securely grasping surfaces when climbing. Zeus tucked them into his belt.
“I expect you back within the hour.” Dargon’s lip lifted slightly in challenge, baring a sharp, hooked fang.
“I will if I can.” Zeus did not reach up to kiss him. Leaving Dargon and the Oethra 7 was hard enough. More physical contact would only serve to distract him. Their gaze held, silent words bouncing back and forth between them. He did not know what would happen once he stepped through the airlock. He was walking blind into the hostile situation. He worried for his brothers, for his lover, and the Fal’Amoric. Holding the gaze of those vibrant green orbs, he knew he would do whatever it took to get back to Dargon and see the mission through to the end. Breaking eye contact, his pursed lips kept him from making promises he could not keep.
Dargon grabbed Zeus’s hand as he turned to walk away. Dargon loomed large over Zeus, his countenance formidable. “I will track you across the universe if you do not come back.”
“I am counting on it,” Zeus whispered, voice full of gravel. Straightening his shoulders, he walked over to the airlock. “Rhee, Amlyn, it is time,” he barked.
The three of them entered the compartment. Zeus refused to glance back before the doors closed. He let all of his thoughts and emotion fall away, centering his mind. Years of discipline allowed him to slip into the warrior’s head space, his body naturally taking up the stance of loose-kneed defense. His hands automatically checked the ties and latches to make sure all was secure.
The airlock cycled down, the all clear chimed before the door opened to a vacant corridor. He had been on Mestor’s warship, The Gorgon, before. As heir apparent, when Azaes traveled offworld, his protection was number one priority. Designed for the royal family, the interior of The Gorgon had an appearance fitting their station. His father used the ship to meet ambassadors and for long range travel. Equipped with a host of safety measures for protection, the ship also provided a higher level of comfort for guests. The Legion’s star crafts for the warlords were starker and plainer in the common areas, the comfort saved for personal quarters. The corridor appeared normal. The murals of scenes from home would have lent a calming quality but for the fact the ship was too quiet.
Stepping off the airlock, Amlyn disengaged the plank so the Oethra 7 could safely pull away. Zeus closed his eyes, lifted his nose, and inhaled. The sea air and scale scent of the Mar’Sani was strong and predominant. Overlaying it were the more recent additions of three, no four other species. Two of the scents he knew, the Dire D’Noss and Quell hounds, but the other two he could not identify.
He laid his palm flat on the interior wall, letting all his senses with the exception of touch, become muted for the moment. He focused on the cool surface under his hand. He trusted Rhee and Amlyn to safeguard him while he read the vibrations. He looked for echoes of conflict, wading through and disregarding the noise of the ship’s engines and other vibrations common to normal operations. The filtering did not come as easy as it had when he had been blind. When he found what he needed, he pulled back, opening his eyes. Rhee and Amlyn were facing away from him, tense and ready for action.
“Most of the movement is toward the bridge. I hope that means the ship is not under another’s command yet.” The game plan would change to rescue and retreat if that happened.
Silently, they ghosted down the corridor. Zeus and Amlyn hugged the wall and Rhee slinked across the ceiling. The closer they got to the bridge, the more activity could be heard. They hid the bodies of those unfortunate enough to cross their path, picking up a handful of Mar’Sani soldiers along the way. Rhee’s attachment to the ceiling was deadlier than Zeus had hoped for. The enemy targets focused on Zeus or those with him, oblivious to the danger lurking overhead.
At the cross corridor, the sounds of conflict became a roar to Zeus’s sensitive ears. Peering around the corner, the hallway was a jumble of bodies, both wounded and dying. Mestor and Warlord Sohm’lan, along with a dozen soldiers, stood in front of the bridge doors, denying the intruders easy access to control of the ship and the Mar’Sani heir apparent.
Zeus counted those of the opposing force. Three times the number of his brother’s troops. He did not think his contribution would do much damage, but at the very least it would divide the enemy and disrupt their attack. Pulling back, he allowed Amlyn to take his place and peek at the melee. Zeus’s face was a mask of grim determination as he looked at his small rag-tag band of fighters. Amlyn double-checked her own weapons.
Zeus drew both swords. “Stealth and surprise is our only advantage,” he whispered. “Strength to your sword arm.” He and the Mar’Sani hissed a soft warrior’s prayer in the old tongue. The soldiers saluted him before he turned the corner and dashed into the fray on quiet feet.
Sprinting up and off the wall, he vaulted over the heads of the Dire D’Noss and Quell hounds, landing crouched in their midst. He attacked before they could comprehend his presence. The deadly whir of his blades the only noise that could be heard until the bodies hit the floor.
The sole survivor on a science vessel adrift in deep space, Zeus was adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar’Sani, though he is both human and blind, and seen by most as unfit to join the royal family. Though they were able to repair his vision, Zeus does not trust his eyes and the nobles of his parents’ court refuse to ever trust a frail human.
Dargon Kal-Turak, along with his symbiote and lover Alpha, command one of the most dangerous ships in the stars. Narrowly escaping a trap, they dock in a space port to make repairs, but find that the Psionics hunting them are closing in fast. In desperation they kidnap the port Master Mechanic, unaware that the man they’ve brought on board is more than he seems, and will bring far more upheaval to their ship, their lives, and the stars than any of them could have imagined.
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
Web site: http://www.lexiander.com