Thoughts on writing tech in world building

Firefly (TV series)
Firefly (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So far, I’ve written three scifi romance novels in a future setting, and I really thought tech would be the challenge. Turns out technology isn’t the massive issue I’d thought it would be. It’s making the tech fit you world, fit your story and your characters.

My world is very human-centric, or at least, it was before the Cans show up. So I try to keep it familiar, make it a tech you already imagine for us in the distant future mixed with a dash of manifest destiny.

What you’ll find in my current Universe is a space opera setting, or so I’ve been told, reminiscent of the Firefly TV series, but not exactly a copy either.

How military is it?

One of the first decision I had to make was the role of the military in my world. Since the government of the Imperium is expansionist, of course, they’ll need the firepower to do that. But, this isn’t meant to be US ARMY space. Therefore, I tried to tweak the radio chatter to sound vaguely like modern day military, but with significant differences in language and protocol.

The beautiful thing about a future setting is it’s a fairly safe bet the world has evolved and disbelief can be somewhat easier to suspend.

What are their motivations?

 I have a tendency to work backward, deciding on who my characters are before anything else, and building a world around them. This may not be a writer norm, but a quirk on my part. So, a civilian space hauler will have a much lower cost tech than a military one. This is why you see so little of the work on the Carry Bell done by robots or drones, but rather they are functions of the crew. However, in my military settings, drones are commonplace and pervasive. This tells the reader that the Empire is the economic power. It’s their universe, the rest of us just live here.

Writing tech is fun. I love it, but it’s important to make it fit. If your characters are Dr. Who wacky and extreme, your tech should match, and if, as in my case, your goal is to make tech a commonplace in society then you need a practical, commercial outlook. What will people use? How does this benefit them individually? Not every society needs a transporter. If they do, don’t be afraid to “make it so”, but remember to make your tech blend, make it belong.

Time to go. There’s work to be done and no drones in my world to do it.

Happy Writing!


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