Why so soon?

Those of you that have read the Nameless War will be aware than it is set about fifty years into the future and yet has at its heart interstellar travel. Why, I have been asked, did I not set it a century or two further on where faster than light travel (FTL) is less of a stretch?

In a nutshell it can be linked to my desire to have realism in my work. Which might seem odd; FTL is unreal and having it in less than half a century more unreal again but I think people lose sight of just how fast things can change.

The first computer I came into contact with (somewhere between twenty five and thirty years ago) was something called an Acorn Electron, it was probably quite expensive and yet the cheap smart phone currently in my pocket has capabilities which are almost immeasurably greater, yet mostly we just accept this as the new normal.

It isn’t just technology that changes, so do social attitudes. A hundred years ago a non-white person was largely considered a second rate kind of human (at best) and that a woman’s place was in the kitchen.  True there are some who would hang onto those attitudes but broadly things have moved on. What can be surprising though is how recent some of that has been. Here in Ireland less than twenty years ago, a woman in the state sector automatically lost her job as soon as she married, on grounds that her job was now to give birth to and raise her husband’s children.

So what has this got to do with having an interstellar war in the mid 2060’s as opposed to 2165 or 2265? Basically I don’t know what kinds of attitudes and definitions of ‘normal’ people will have a century from now, but I can be pretty certain that it won’t be anything we’d recognize. I wanted my universe to be inhabited my people the reader could understand and relate to, so that meant to avoid a suspension of disbelief for myself it had to be kept in the near future.

Of course as I mentioned in my previous post there was also supposed to be a book ahead of the Nameless War. One that would have covered a lot of the technical steps forward that created the universe my characters inhabit but unfortunately didn’t come to pass.

My next post is going to be a return to ships of the fleet. I’m trying a more complicated model but unfortunately it’s making my old computer have a little cry every time I change anything. Still until next time…

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