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The Future: If You Blink, You’ll Miss It

We were recently asked if it was difficult to write science fiction in a world where the future quickly and persistently becomes the present.

You betcha!

How lovely it must have been to be a sci-fi writer one hundred years ago. The inventions and devices you imagined and described were unlikely to show up not only in the near future but in your lifetime. Your futuristic world would remain just that, an imaginative journey into a far-off place.

Not so today. When we wrote the first draft of Time’s Edge twenty-five years ago, the future we imagined included wireless mobile computers, touch screens, voice-activated devices, quantum physics… Well, you get the picture. Flash forward twenty years. We haul out the manuscript, begin to polish it for publication, and notice a big problem. The future we described had pretty much become the present.

We rewrote the story and have since added two sequels, but we wonder how long it will be before the devices and ways of life we described become part of our present lives. And then we wonder what it will be like for the science fiction writers of tomorrow. Technology is evolving so quickly, the future will be happening as they are writing it!

FUTURE WRITER: Let’s see. Orion steps into his personal protection pod (PPP) which will shield him from the harmful rays of the sun that shine through the depleted ozone layer, filter the smog-laden air, protect him from the chemicals that saturate the ground…

NEWS FLASH: Get your very own Personal Protection Pod. Don’t put yourself at risk of our deadly environment again! PPP’s will shield the sun’s deadly rays, filter your air, protect you from toxic chemicals…

FUTURE WRITER: Sigh. I wish I lived in the 21st century. Life was so much simpler then. Let’s see. Maybe Orion could just wear a special suit. Wait a minute. An ultra-thin fabric, transparent yet tough, which provides all the protection he needs from the environment. It will be practically invisible, so no one will know he is wearing it… I’ll call it WonderFabric…

NEWS FLASH: WonderFabric, now available from fine eOutlets everywhere. Transparent yet tough, invisible to others…

FUTURE WRITER: I’m switching to historical fiction.






Whither Goest Publishing?

There have been arguments all over the Web (and off it!) about the future of publishing. Some believe printed books are dead. Others think ebooks are a fad. (Yes, we actually heard someone say this.)  It was inevitable that, as authors, we would get asked our opinions about this burning question. And our reply?

We don’t know.

That’s right, we  have no idea what direction publishing is going to take. Are print books dead? We don’t think so. Are ebooks a fad? Nope. But do we have to choose one over the other? We aren’t so sure about that.

Let’s face it. Technology changes so quickly that discussing traditional formats vs. ebooks seems silly. Who knows what will be available ten years from now. And fifty years out is even more vague. We’ve read many of the predictions about publishing and are frankly amazed that so many seem so sure about something so nebulous.

Our first novel, Time’s Edge, is available in ebook and printed formats. Yes, the ebook is out-selling the paperback version, but we’re willing to bet price is the deciding factor. (The ebook is $3.99 and the paperback is $9.99.) Everyone loves a bargain.

We wish we could get into a space ship and time travel as the characters in our book do. However, we are stuck with today. And since that is all anyone has anyway, arguing about the direction the future is going to take seems unnecessary. If pressed on the subject, we’re willing to say that new ways of sharing information and emerging technologies are going to change the publishing field in ways no one is even considering.

It’s an interesting intellectual exercise. But that’s all it is. The important point is to stay current and to be open to new ideas and adaptable to new technologies. However, if any one does have a time-traveling space ship, let us know!

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