It’s been a few days, so let me update my word count real fast before I jump into what I want to talk about today: 40,059 words. 138 pages. I haven’t been able to keep up with my NaNoWriMo word count as much as I’d like, but I’m still moving along at a decent clip and I feel good about the work I’m doing.
So, moving on…An announcement!
You ever see the 1981 movie Outland? Sean Connery goes to a mining colony on Io and exposes a drug ring before kicking the shit out of everyone? No? That's too bad, but not so surprising. How about the first two Alien films, or 2001 and 2010? Blade Runner? Please tell me that you've at least seen Blade Runner...
Not that I'm going to judge you for not having seen any of these films. I'm not. Really! But having a little familiarity with the technology and visual language of these films—the very particular vision of the future that came from science-fiction films of this period—will make what I'm talking about here a little easier to understand.
So, this book that I'm writing here—this crazy, mixed up kid of a book—it takes place in 2046, right? It takes place in 2046, and it takes place on the moon, and it's full of crazy, impressive future-tech in the way that science-fiction often is, and it all looks and feels very slick and modern in the way that most post-Star Wars Prequel and Abrams-Trek science-fiction tends to be. And, you know, that's fine. It's fine that it's like that.
But, hey, guys? What if it wasn't like that?
What if this novel took place in a world where we kept moving forward in terms of social, political, and scientific advancements...But the tech level stagnated somewhere around 1990? A world where there are people living and working on the lunar surface, but nobody got around to inventing cell phones. A world full of primitive and bulky, but fully functional, versions of things that we take for granted in the modern world, but where the internet never went beyond functioning as a limited-access network for governments, military organizations, and major corporations. A world of computers that make clattering noises when their screens refresh, and can only display four or five colors. A world where things actually print on paper, and books aren't moribund. A world where nobody tweets, and my characters have to do actual detective work rather than spend all of their time reading reports and doing web searches on their frigging cell-phones (some of what I've been writing has been very frustrating and restrictive, guys).
That's the kind of world that I want to set this novel in. Someplace full of grit and noise and utility, that's a little more exciting than the slicked-back, all-in-one future that the tech companies try to sell us these days.
So that's where I'm going to set this. Kind of an alternate reality, retro-future thing. And that means going back during the edit and changing a lot of tech details, but I'm really okay with that. I welcome it. Because I've had a few days with this decision and I've played with it some, and I'm really having fun with it.
Which is mostly the why of my doing this. For all of the care that I put into developing this setting and story, there was nothing to it that really made it fun or unique. It didn't have a THING, if that doesn't sound to cynical and calculating. So, this is the novel's thing, I guess. The unusual thing that will hopefully set it apart from the other science-fiction procedurals out there, and, hopefully, make readers (that's you) make a purchase.
With that, you know where I'm coming from. This is something that I'm excited about. Something that I'm having fun with. Something that's letting me write this book the way that I want to while still having my characters rely on deduction, and interview, and good, old-fashioned detective footwork.
I feel better about this now than I have in a while. It's going to be great.