In developing my fictional universe for my writing I’ve made extensive timelines stretching into the future. From the future’s perspective I’ve named the era we are in now “backtime”.
What to watch on a generation ship.
Backtime is a term within my fiction for the time before virtual reality was an everyday experience.
A pinstriped gangster fan.
Artim Drakkin, a main character in my just published book, loves the mobster genre.
With such a small population he knows no peers that share his interest, but this isn’t strange considering the wealth of choices.
The crew is around a thousand, but a thousand of all ages.
Maybe a hundred are near enough in age that Artim would consider them peers. Less than half of those sample backtime media regularly, and with over a century of material, they each could find their own separate genre.
Western, mafia, zombies, vampires, pirates, are all things he’s seen interest in.
How fast does an isolated culture change?
Commentators have suggested after hearing my book’s setting that the small ship society would change a great deal after just a few generations.
I have thought a lot about this in developing my book. Social engineers working on the generation ship project did everything they could think of to set up a system that would support a maintenance of their familiar culture.
In the background, generation after generations sharing the same backtime vid library ensures bonds.
Netflix is my son’s Saturday morning cartoons
In a lot of ways I have more pop culture connections with my five-year-old son than I do with people in their twenties, because of the new accessibility to old media and the rebooting of hits like Transformers.
Stories need to be relatable.
It is a conscious choice for my fiction to have pop culture familiar to readers existing seven and eight hundred years in the future.
It is a stretch, but one that should be familiar to any sci-fi writer. I don’t have human looking aliens that speak English, but I do have characters that have watched Game of Thrones.
What to watch?
My son and I are both willing to watch videos until pain and discomfort distracts. He has not been introduced to video gaming, but I suspect he will follow in my footsteps and stare at a screen for a dozen hours as if it is as necessary as air or water. So too will he stay up all night watching the whole season of a Netflix original show.
In a place where we don’t have to work and have several times the library of entertainment we do now, I would worry about our motivation.
Backtime videos could fill the time of any bored character. I did not spend much time in my book talking about what the character’s watched for entertainment.
I worried it would be a distraction to the story of Destiny’s Hand, but perhaps it will be a focus of another tale.
It could be fun to write a short story focused on what interesting characters choose to consume with their eyes, but it would suffer from needing to connect with readers via contemporary shows. As tempting as that is, it would be too much of a stretch to ignore all the backtime that happens after 2014.
I am working on a short story about the boy who cried wolf, but with a virtual reality twist.
Reading fables and sharing in their knowing is akin to what these future fictional characters do with backtime vids.