ne of the problems of writing things fifteen minutes into the future is the fact that, like toy boats on a river, the future slides by us and becomes the past.
Remember the old idea that phone lines could be cut, that you’d be out of contact, off the grid, and how quaint that is? Now, it feels like more and more a stretch to show those plot-necessary no-bars. Now adays in modern stories, it’s not happening so much, the idea that the hero’s friends are walking into a trap, and the hero must rush after them to intercept them (or, likely, to save them).
India used to be at the other end of the world, requiring a montage of travel scenes and the movement of a line on the map. Now you can buy a plane ticket and be there in twenty hours.
Had that happen in one of my old not-published novels, Oath to Carthage. The world of about-now (I’m careful about putting a date on this) was a dystopian hellhole with fortified corporations and tribes of ruins-dwellers. A month or so ago, I realized that my all-fall-down date had come and gone. So I was dated.
The example stands of 1984, for obvious reasons. Yet the world seems to be doing a good job of catching up here.
The latest example is in the old book King Rat by China Miéville, a favorite author. Published in 1998, it involves a gristly killing that takes place in the abandoned underground station, Mornington Crescent. It had been closed years before for limited refurbishment and not reopened. So of course, after blinking in horror through that moment, I came went online to check. Turns out Mornington Crescent was reopened. In 1998. When King Rat came out. Wonder what Miéville through of that.
While he went to the bank.
Seriously, you still need to consider that you’ll get dated if you write near-future stories. It’s something to keep in mind.
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