Writing science fiction allows one to imagine a world of possibilities. Not only is it enjoyable to dream about the future, but it is beneficial to develop such a skill in order to plan for the real future. Learning from history is beneficial, but so too is developing the skill of imagining possibilities.
I enjoy reading history books, but I don’t see myself writing one. It’s not that researching the facts and inter-relationships surrounding an event or a person is daunting. It’s simply not a passion of mine such that I could stay interested for hundreds of pages of writing. I would rather write with a world of possibilities before me, which is why science fiction appeals to me, and which is why I wrote Singularity and Survival.
Singularity and Survival takes place in the near future. While the technology is not of the fantastic sort that might never come to pass, it is unfamiliar enough that the path of the technology’s development, use, and (potential) abuse is unknown. The unknown invites speculation, exploring possibilities.
I can imagine a different author taking an entirely different tack than what I did. Indeed, there are several who have, related to the subject of the book: the singularity. Singularity is what many call the event if/when a computer gains the equivalent of “consciousness.” The key is to make the story plausible, perhaps even likely.
While a science fiction book might suspend credibility at some points, it needs to be consistent within its own world and rules.
While truth is stranger than fiction, trying to posit what the future reality might be cannot be too strange. And, yet, there are many possibilities that can be explored. As I was thinking about the plot of what would later become Singularity and Survival, I explored many possibilities. Some were obviously too strange to spend much time on. Others took some exploring until it became clear they were not feasible. But there were still other possibilities that I did not follow but could have.
This is similar to the young adult books that allow the reader to choose their own adventure. Worked into the book are decisions that the reader is presented with and can choose to follow to different ends. What the reader does in those books is something the fiction writer does when thinking about and writing his or her book.
Not only is this an enjoyable aspect of writing fiction, but thinking about possibilities for writing Singularity and Survival has helped me to think about possibilities in real life. I have found the skill of mentally exploring a world of possibilities for a work of fiction eminently applicable to thinking with an eye on the future for my own life and the life of my family. Not only is there a world of possibilities for my wife and me, but also for our children.
It staggers the mind to think not only of six months from now, but two, five, ten, and twenty years from now. There are many possibilities one can think of. Some of them are not credible, but many are credible, including many possibilities that are not desirable. Thinking of those possibilities helps one to anticipate and direct life now, with an eye on the future.
Certainly, looking back at history and studying history can help one learn how to live in the present and the future, but developing the skill of thinking of the world of possibilities in the future is also helpful to prepare and plan… as well as to simply enjoy dreaming about what might be.
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