Saturday, December 24, 2011

Guest blog with Jeffery Anderson author of Ephemera

Today's guest post is another of the author generously sharing their work as part of the WHBGE.  Check the link to sign up to win a copy or get it from Amazon right now (also in print).  Now I'll give the floor to Jeffery to talk about watching predictions come true.

Predicting the Future.

It’s something that has probably happened to a lot of writers who create stories about the future. Realistically, there is nothing magic about it. Even so, it made my jaw drop not too long ago to tune into an episode of American Dad! and see a remotely controlled cyborg technology as the centerpiece gag in an episode titled “Virtual-InStanity.” The technology does not exist yet, but it plays a crucial role in my novel, Ephemera. I have no doubt some government spider-hole contains a group of scientists working on something like it. Obviously someone on the show had the same thought.

Coincidence? I’m quite sure of it. At least, I never knew of anyone related to the show reading the novel.  I’m also pretty sure it is a coincidence because it isn’t the first time it has happened. When I began writing the novel in 2003, there were no smart phones, the internet and television were not integrated, there was no ipad either. Nearly identical versions of all of these things exist in my novel. There is plenty more that appears it is on the way, such as billboards and sensors that actively advertise to your devices as you pass by.

There are also social and political trends that did not exist, such as the Tea Party and the issue of texting while driving.

Now before anybody emails me and wants to know more about my Nostradamus-like predictions, let me assure you that anybody with an imagination can do it. A lot of fiction writers, as well as serious philosophical writers have been predicting what comes to pass for quite a while. Crack open a Fukuyama book some time. Nobody gets it right all the time. In fact, to see things I imagined become reality as frequently as they have, kind of surprises me.

What these writers are doing is simply observing the trends of the world and technology. Personally, I imagined things that people would really want to make their lives easier, if they could have them. It is called rational choice theory, the idea that people will always make choices that benefit them the most. Businesses capitalize on this theory all the time by creating things that have more and more gizmos to make a person’s life easier, or give them more power and control. The public lust for better technology is an easy trend to follow, and only the imagination hinders what will be created next.

I think writing futuristic fiction, being in the technology business and being a prophet of the future all require the same technique and skill-set. You just need to be able to see what people seem to want, or would want, if they could have it, and imagine what it would take for something like it to exist. You also need to see trends over time, war and politics, diplomacy and social evolution. It is within these realms that you have a good chance at coming up with plausible scenarios for the future, that may come to pass, even in small parts.

Some of us just don’t write our visions down in esoteric quatrains to mystify the reader in case we get it wrong.  Sorry, Nostradamus, cheap shot, I know.

Thanks for stopping by everyone and have a great Christmas or whatever you are celebrating. 

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