Saturday, January 25, 2020

Today's topic for our group blog is:
How can contemporary fiction cope with the rapid changes of today’s world? 

This is a great question.  I worked in technology as a programmer, systems analyst, and project leader for 25 years.  When i began writing, I had characters who also worked in technology and solved computer and other crimes.  Each novel had it's own niche.  The Shadow Warriors used "software agents."  World of Mirrors used data mining software.  Festival Madness portrayed hackers and facial recognition technology.  My latest novel, Chased By Death, had hackers and "Lojack for Laptops," but technology was not emphasized.  Bad people were.

A new book coming out in September, one that has been rewritten several times (it happens) was set at a company racing to get new systems installed before the "Millennial Bug."  Remember Y2K? Murder in the Northwoods is almost hisorical.

At some point, I realized technology was moving faster than I could write about it, because it takes me about three years to write a book.  That's if things are going well. I got off the technology train and wrote a novel set in 1928 California.  It hasn't sold yet, but it won't ever go out of date.  My current WIP is set in two periods in South Central Kansas during the wheat harvest.  No technology in 1953, but of course there is in 2019.  My heroine is trying to get off the grid because of a stalking ex-boyfriend.  Technology just won't go away, but it can play a minor role.

To answer the question of how to cope in one's fiction:  the author can depict the characters struggling with technology as we all do, or depict characters who are Luddites and avoid social media, etc. One can explore the character of those who create or push technology.  There is plenty of room for conflict.  If you don't want to write about any of it, set your fiction pre-1980s.

The rapid changes offer plenty of plots.  Climate change with its causes and many problems offers a. lot of possibilities.  Scientists and adventurers can become heroic.  Change offers the writer countless opportunities: lost and stolen cell phones or laptops, blackmail with sexting, dating and hookup websites,. The possibilities are endless. What if you fell for a fake phone call from a grandchild that she was stranded in a foreign country and needed cash?  What if a friend fell for a Nigerian swindle? Change and technology present opportunities.  It is up to the writer to seize them.

I am confident that the authors below have their own unique and interesting takes on this our first topic of the new year.  Do take a look! 

List of participants:

Skye Taylor
Dr. Bob Rich
Helena Fairfax
Connie Vines
Jeverley Bateman
Fiona McGier
Anne Stenhouse
Rhobin L Courtright