I’ve been neck-deep in the last quarter of my novel for a couple of weeks now. There’s not a lot to report as far as progress goes – I’m just chugging along as usual. This is definitely the least glamorous part of writing: going over ones outline over and over again, making sure that the characters are staying active, that the plot progresses naturally, that the viewpoints are spread out. It’s not thrilling, and it doesn’t make for thrilling blogging.
So, instead, I hereby present another instance of Scenes from the Future! Herein, I talk at some length about a specific element of Fugitives from Earth that I find interesting or curious or otherwise noteworthy. Featured in this episode: orbital bombardment! Oh, and, “spoiler alert.”
As a longtime cheerleader of private spaceflight company SpaceX, I’m absolutely thrilled to announce this morning that the second launch of their Falcon 9 rocket was completely successful. Its payload was the new Dragon spacecraft, also developed by SpaceX; the Dragon made several complete orbits of the Earth and successfully re-entered the atmosphere a few hours after launch.
To quote SpaceX’s press release,
This marks the first time a commercial company has successfully recovered a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. It is a feat performed by only six nations or government agencies: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.
I’m not sure if science fiction has the most cliches of any literary genre, but it’s sure got a pile of them.* Go ahead and think for a second, I bet you’ll come up with a few even if you’re not really into science fiction.
As a noob science fiction writer, my goal is to stand out by trying to avoid or invert as many cliches as possible without becoming contrary for the sake of contrariety. I’ve put a little bit of thought into this today and I figured I’d list a few ways that I’m trying to be a little different, while at the same time revealing some worldbuilding details that you might be interested in. I decided to go for the first cliches that popped into my head: warp drive (or FTL, whatever), the world government, and (blah) space as an ocean.
Obviously, it’s not easy to get around in space. There’s no air and everything’s a long ways away. This is why, for instance, we’re not living on Mars right now.*
One hopes that in the future we’ll find ways around these problems. And really, that future is closer than you might think. It’ll be awhile before we can travel to alien homeworlds at warp speed, but that’s most certainly not required to have relatively quick and most certainly interesting trips through space.
My novel will take place about 150 years in the future. I think this is the perfect time for near-future spaceflight, because it means that the technologies that you read about us having “someday” are thoroughly plausible. Gene therapy, mind-machine interface, and space colonies are all realities in the world of the early 2160s, but the most interesting to me right now is the propulsion technology they’ll have.