ReadersMagnet recommends these five essential writing tips for your next near-future sci-fi novel.
Near-Future Science Fiction or near-future sci-fi is a subgenre of science fiction literature that features a near-distant future with technologies that likely to exist, given the current advancements of science and research. Unlike space sci-fi or alien fantasy, the technology and realities of near-future sci-fi are quite believable and real. Because of its unique characteristics, writing near-future sci-fi stories rely heavily on the present and distant possible future, specifically technology, scientific developments, and applications. Here are five essential tips that can help you come up with a sensible near-future science fiction story.
Make the technology familiar.
As we’ve mentioned above, near-future sci-fi invests heavily in believable technological advancements. Therefore, whatever technology you plan to feature, it has to be something that readers can foresee, say 30 to 50 years from now. Some of the standard near-future technologies featured in the past 50 decades include laser guns, hovercrafts, supersonic jets, and hand-carry gadgets capable of multi-functions (smartphones, supercomputers, etc.). Today, they are real, and we are witnessing their further developments. The Madhouse Projects by Rick Badman, a near-future sci-fi novel, features tons of technologies that are almost possible. One of them is a flying car that can travel great distances.
Not all details are important.
Some sci-fi authors love to incorporate as many details as possible. Whether in the technology featured, the characters, or the plot itself, details play an essential part. For near-future sci-fi, however, many will contest that too many details can ruin the narrative. It’s always essential to leave some gaps and mysteries for readers to solve. If you are writing about a specific technological advancement, say, facial reconstruction or identity theft, there is no need to detail the process (facial recognitions, eye transplant, fingerprint replacement, etc.) As long as you can create a sound narrative on the idea and backstory of that technology, they should suffice.
Create a name for your tech.
Umbrella Corp (Resident Evil), Cyberdine Systems Corps (Terminator), Wayne Enterprises (Batman), CHOAM (Dune), and Stark Industries (Iron Man) are just some of the famous fictional brands and corporations that produce near-future technologies. They have become synonymous with their literature that we cannot imagine Iron Man without Stark Industries or Batman with Wayne Enterprises. To make your technology and your narrative believable, you must create a name or brand for it. Readers will always identify with a brand, a logo, the same way they identify with the heroes and characters in the books. Make sure you name your technology well. Choose something that easy to remember and will stick well with your story.
Build a world that’s possible.
In near-future sci-fi, you do not need to build enchanted kingdoms, an alien universe, or a complex post-apocalypse planet Earth. The challenge lies in creating a recognizable setting here on Earth, perhaps a modern America or Japan 30 to 50 years from now. In the future, perhaps people use hover boards instead of motorcycles or robots perform surgeries. These things are being developed for practical use as we speak, and it will only be a matter of time before these technologies and realities become part of the future society. The trick is to imagine where the current society will be a few decades from now: transportation, economy, services, products, and other aspects of living.
Do write relatable characters.
Again, there is no need to create a complex android or alien characters. Near-future sci-fi characters are human characters. Sure, they can be a bit complex or sophisticated because they are indeed a byproduct of their times and the technological advancements around them. But they possess the same emotions, doubts, hopes, and dreams. Create characters that present-time readers can relate to; a struggling single mom, an unemployed migrant, a genius with no fund, a military man seeking purpose, etc. The possibilities are endless. Even if you are writing a science fiction narrative, the characters must still mirror today’s everyday individuals. That is one way to achieve a great near-future story.
Rick Badman is a near-future sci-fi novelist and is the author of The Madhouse Projects, its sequel The Russian Madhouse, and other sci-fi books. You can buy copies of his books or visit his website today.