The Weird and Unbelievable. How Do You Research the Future? – Behind the Scenes of 2108 (Part II)
How do you research for writing about the future? Good question! One reason I wanted to write about the future was so I could make up all sorts of fun technologies. I also thought I wouldn’t have to worry about being so accurate in the creation of my “world.” Well, I soon learned there are ways to research and be (at least semi-) plausible about the future. I’m not saying that what I wrote about will happen as I wrote it. But I wanted things to be actually plausible or possible. So I spent a lot of time visiting my friends Google and YouTube. They usually don’t disappoint.
I researched future technology predictions, current cutting edge technology, genetic alteration, GMO’s, futuristic architecture, what people think about aliens, and whatever other fascinating trails I came across. Fascinating stuff! From all of that, I “created” the world that I wanted . . . well, parts of it I don’t really want, but wanted to write about!
Somewhere in there, I stumbled upon transhumanism. I’m not sure how. Probably in the Google results of something like “futuristic technology.” A short explanation of transhumanism might go something like, “the pursuit of enhancing people through genetics and technology.” The Wikipedia description (linked to above) is a good intro, though fairly tame. Some of the things I read on other sites can make your skin crawl . . . actually the Wikipedia one can too. There are people seriously wanting to alter human genetics so that people have enhanced attributes. One way would be by giving people attributes belonging to animals. Like say, eyes that can see in the dark like cats. That was the inspiration for Rove, one of the minor characters in 2108: Eyes Open.
Or they want to figure out a way to integrate technology with the human body—whether through bionic enhancements or computer integration in the brain, etc. Some of these things, I found interesting and helpful when thinking about medical issues. But other ones . . . wow. Where are the boundaries?! There are actually a number of debates around the world right now trying to decide, “how far can we ethically go?” Some people want to push the limits as far as they can go. Others want to remain true and faithful to the original design. That is one of the global struggles I tried to flesh out in 2108: Eyes Open.
So . . . I guess I learned that writing about the future can require lots of research too. I’m not sorry I had to research for this book. It was fascinating, mind stretching . . . sometimes scary . . . but definitely worth doing.