Why to Write in the Near Future
“The near future” sounds like a new verb tense, like the past or the pluperfect, but to me it means a writing time somewhere between five minutes and a fifty years from now. My recent novels fall in this time frame, and I’ve been asked why I like to write then.
It’s simple, really. I’m curious about where we’re going as a people. In the Vault of Dreamers series, 50 years from now, a girl from the boxcar community of fictional Doli, Arizona, the poorest zip code in the country, attends a prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show, thinking she’s found her escape to a new and better life. Instead, she discovers someone is secretly mining students for their dreams.
To me, this concept is a fascinating vehicle for exploring the way we depend upon and exploit the creativity of our young people. We’re in love with youth, with the vigor and beauty of young people, with their music, their fashion, their athletic prowess. I can easily conceive of a show like this truly existing.
In a world where we’ve voluntarily surrendered our privacy to social media, my novel helps me ponder what it would do to me, personally, to always be on camera, to never have a moment alone. In ways, we aren’t far from that, and we won’t need an evil genius to spy on us all when we’re already doing the work for him.
My writing lets me imagine what our medical technology will be like when we can heal coma patients, or when we still can’t. Some moral dilemmas will always torment us.
Rosie’s story also gets me thinking about how we’ve merged with our computers, always taking our phones with us wherever we go, until we feel lonely without them because we’re disconnected from our friends and ourselves.
In The Keep of Ages (Vault of Dreamers #3), I follow these ideas to the next level, and then to the next. I’m guessing at our future, and that leads me back to present day crossroads, where we still have time to make choices.