Friday, June 26, 2009

Predicting the Future: a Look at a Will Be that Was

My settings, for the most part, will be somewhere in 'The Future.' To do a plausible job of describing - and showing - these settings, I'll need to do a little research. That's nothing unusual. Telling a story that's set in an unfamiliar time and place means that the author needs to either learn about the setting: or make up details and hope that no reader spots it.

Since 'The Future' for the early 21st century isn't here yet, I have to make up the details - but want to make them plausible. One way to do that is to look at past predictions, and learn from their work.

About eight decades back, people - some of them - seemed quite sure what The Future would look like.

A PATHETONE WEEKLY newsreel from the 1930s:

"1930s Futuristic Fashion Predictions"

lamaladietropicale, YouTube (March 11, 2009)
video, 1:37

People in The Future didn't wear clothing with quite that sort of style, but many women in western countries do wear pants now, we have portable radios and telephones: and quite a few of us wear our cell phones, beepers, and other communications equipment on our belts.

That was Then, This is Now

Here's something that people may be viewing around the year 2085:

"Futuristic Japanese Cars"

diagonaluk, YouTube (December 18, 2008)
video, 1:27

Some of the vehicles look practical - although I'm a bit dubious about the mini-car with two micro-cars inside - and something like them might be in common use not too long from now. Some of the designs might even be the 2085 equivalent of the Volkswagon bug.

Since my stories will be part text and part graphics, I need to design a plausible 'future world.' And, I want to avoid making these fictional futures look too much like either knockoffs of contemporary visions of the future, or 2009 fashions with futuristic flourishes.

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