Archive for February 18, 2014


I’m getting older.  Okay, we’re all getting older.  But I’m already old getting older, and I’m a writer.

In the future I plan to write a piece looking at science fiction writers and the gadgets they envisioned long before they came into existence.  That led me to consider my present situation, an older science fiction writer trying to keep up with the current bounty of new devices.

Recently I attended a talk given by an author describing her work and during the presentation she mentioned how she made sure her characters used a cell phone.  For that is what we all do now, except for me.  I considered all my stories.  None of my characters ever use a cell phone.  Perhaps it’s because I do not own a cell phone, never have.

I’m kind of a private person, substitute introverted for private, so if I had a cell phone and it rang, I probably wouldn’t answer it.  That’s normal, right?

I look at the world around me and am amazed at the devices in daily use that we take for granted, especially the younger ‘we’.  Look at the increasing power of the personal computer, to say nothing of the various tablets and such.  To give a feel for the changes I’ve witnessed, when I was in college I used a slide rule to calculate.  I’ll give the younger of my readers a chance to reach for their dictionary.

Technology is changing at a tremendous rate, knowledge gained faster than ever before.  For example, and this is ancient history, man stepped on the moon just 66 years after he first flew.  You had people alive who knew a sky containing only birds.  Those same people got to see and hear rockets setting off into space.  That is truly remarkable.

The point is, it is difficult for an ‘older’ writer to keep up with the current technology and weave that technology into their stories.  At least it is for this ‘older’ writer.

As a side note, Jim Butcher creator of the Dresden Files, a writer I admire and whose work I devour, uses an interesting device to overcome this problem in his urban fantasy series.  His character, Harry Dresden, is a wizard, and any time he comes near a modern electrical device that device self-destructs.  What a great backdoor!

As for my work, I guess I’ll just have to invent my own technology.  After all, that’s what we science fiction writers do.

February 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment


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