Thursday, March 01, 2007

When Technology Runs Amok

Or just plain doesn't want to cooperate with us. Take my phone for instance. Now, it's not my secondary line which has the DSL running through it, but my primary line. The number all my publishers and potential publishers just stopped working. When my huband called the phone company via the cell to make an appointment for someone to look at the line, they asked if Monday would be ok...when he said no, they hung up on him. Now, how rude is that, I asked you?

In the Age of Technology, phones and computer lines are paramount. Staying connected in this businesses is essential. Both Dave and I have work out there that may - if the Gods of Publication smile on us -could be bought by someone. How does the phone company know that that primary line isn't being used by a family with severe medical problems who needs access to 911? Totally unacceptable response from them. But I should feel somewhat lucky in the knowledge that I at least have my internet access.

Which brings me to the topic at hand...

Technology running amok in your sci-fi worlds...

In my novella "Fatal Error" a supercomputer takes over the US government and holds her citizens in a state of Orwellian fear. The computer even goes so far as to create a mechanical police force and fighter jets to protect its interests.

In my novella "Falling Stars" nanobots created by a conquering race mimic not only the power sources in electronic and mechanical devices, but can also take on the shape, look and action of blood cells.

I don't know where these ideas of mine come from sometimes. Usually dreams , sometimes - like the nanobots mimicking blood - they just crop up as I'm writing. I love mixing fantasy and sci-fi technology as well. I think there is something interesting about having a cross-genre clash of technology vs. mysticism.

In a WIP titled The Ward, practitioners of an elemental manipulation, live in a world where intergalatic travelers mix with a race of subterranen dwellers. So far its a very urban story, that though the civilizations involved can and do travel the stars, the majority of the story is underground. The Ward practitioners (of which there are several levels) are at a crossroads with technology. Some feel their ways are outdated, others see them as a threat. It is up to the Ward to find their relevance in a world that is fastly outdating them.

In Trail of Stars, another novel WIP, pits a young inexperienced farm girl against her decision to join the army to protect the planet's interests in an intergalactic war. This is not only a woman vs. machine story, but how even if you live side by side with technology it can still be far outside your experience if you live in relative isolation. How far does one have to go to make their life matter to others?

How do you like to use technology to up the ante in your stories? Are your hero and heroine in peril from the gadgets that are supposed to make their lives easier? Or is some baddy trying to use it to their own advantage?

Whichever way you slice it, technology is here to stay. And we have to take it with all the lumps and bumps if we want to stay in touch.



Skylar Masey said...


One of the biggest issues I've had lately with technology as if effects my career is that my editor's access has been down for the past 3 weeks! Which means I haven't gotten a new pub date, and am stuck sitting on pins and needles wondering if the e-mail is going to fall through the cracks.

As for in my books, I have the following:

TIES OF VALOR has a smattering of technology in a few clever places, but nothing thats too far from the realm of possiblity.

JOURNEY OF MY HEART (the follow up to TOV which is my current WIP) has a little more techiness going on. I had an idea for a fabulous electronic device that bridges the gap between languages. It's dime-sized and adheres to the throat.

BELIEVE IN ME pulled out a few stops. I have a few real-to-life gadgets as in bikes that hover, instead of roll. Some sophisticated tracking devices, some state-of-the-art implants and super-cool weapons. Though my super-team doesn't carry guns, explosives, etc. :0) I know this is vague, but I'm planning on fleshing out some of the details later this month. If I spill the beans now, everyone will scroll past my post :0)

MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott said...


I have hover bikes in Fatal Error that I call "trikes" because they have three thrusters on the bottom that allow them to hover off the ground. Since it's a futuristic and not quite a sci-fi, I wanted a recognizable world, but one that the technology would be just a bit more advanced on. I think sometimes, it's really hard to pull back on stories like that. If you're going all out sci-fi the sky is literally the limit, or limitless as the case may be. Futuristics you have to figure just how far in the future you are and then adjust accordingly. I remember back in the 70's everyone thought we'd be riding around in hover cars by the year 2000. And yet, we can converse with someone on the other side of the globe by calling them on a webcam.

I wonder what the reality will be in the next 30 years.


Lynda K. Scott said...

Every morning during rush hour, I want a hover car! LOL

The tech in my stories tends to be environmentally safe...maybe because I'm an environmentalist at heart. Of course, my science also tends towards the magical since a lot of it is so far past our own tech. And because I love to make things up LOL