Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Will All the Techies Please Stand Up?

TAKE ME IN YOUR HEART was the first novel where I tried my hand at being a mad scientist. In fact, I created a scientist, who embodied a person with the brains to create inventions beyond the average person’s comprehension. Only he was absent minded, because when you have a positive, you have to balance it with a negative. Of course, this made people nervous about using his genius-level tech toys.

I have to admit my step-dad made me a tech lover. He was always interested in new fangled gizmos and how things ticked. So, when I’m thinking of ingenious new items to add to my worlds, I think of something practical, yet with a twist. (The best mix of this for one of my characters is Rabi Hamlin. She uses her knack at raiding Radio Shack’s cheap parts and know-how from her dad to fabricate all her specialized crime fighting gear.)

In TMIYH, I created the dimaci, a range rover type vehicle as big as a tank, and yet fast as a cheetah racing over land. I created a sentient computer system that could remain fully functioning if the ventral CPU cube was carved out. I created communicators with picture feed and GPS, as well as machines that could heal—though they hadn’t been tested on mere humans.

To carry my creativity a bit further I imagined two eco-systems that show the diverse nature of the hero and heroine. One has regions with deadly climate changes and diverse abnormalities only the locals know how to circumvent (because I wanted to use them in later books). The other had two suns, and a society that is fueled by that energy, yet lacks the necessity of human touch. Building worlds can be fun, but you’d be surprised how much you have to think of in relation to the sun(s), moisture, gravity, etc. that make the world go round. What I concocted was simply based on my small grasp on ecology thanks to high school and college science classes. (Dare I flaunt that I did better in Bio than most of my classmates majoring in the field?)

However, my love for technology always rears its head (and gets me in trouble by writing futuristics). In BELIEVE IN ME, I had supped up cycles, cuffs that sported 3-D mapping technology, and surgical breakthroughs including…biotechnology. As a high-schooler I dreamed of being in the newly designed field, but unfortunately my science and math wasn’t stellar enough. And then I thought of all the mutants I might create if I botched a complex formula. But there’s something thrilling about changing an organism because of the addition of a foreign body. Just image the characteristics of steel emerging from a common animal cell…then multiply that by a 6 foot four male body packed with muscle. Wouldn’t want to be on his bad side, huh?

And I’m headed back to the techie side for LEAP DAYS with drug enhancers, digital signage, and tracking body signatures from hormones and DNA scripts. (For the latter think of pet tracking, but on a more complex biological level.) Yes, my mind does like to hop from place to place where it picks up fodder from those articles about breaking news in the science industry. Just like all stories must be based on something you know, those real-life science exhibits metamorphoses into things that people (including me) only dream of being reality. Sometimes walking the techie side is awe inspiring, but other times it can scare the “bleep” out of you.

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2 comments:

Lynda K. Scott said...

True on scaring the *bleep* out of you :D I heard recently where someone is trying to develop the technology so that machines can read your mind. Kind of Big Brother scary, huh? And sort of reminds me of a SF short story I read eons ago, where the machine look back in time to 'watch' the murder take place. Best part though was that the murderer was made to travel back in time to the body of the fellow he killed just before the victims death so he experienced it. They did this to him over and over again for the rest of his life. Talk about punishment!

Wish I could remember the title of that one, I'd go looking for it :D

Savanna Kougar said...

Yep, that's my first thought -- today's tech scares the bejeezus out of me! Big time! Hey, they've got spy cockroaches and robo dragonflies for surveillance. They can take out a crowd of protesters with a microwave-bake gun or blast you with intolerable sound waves. Heck, they have nano tracking units that can be added to food or drink...don't have to look too far inspiration these days. At least, I don't. But the arts were my strength. I didn't have the whiz smarts for mathematics or the advanced science courses. You're lucky to have that ability and background.