The CSFF blog tour is featuring Karen Hancock's newest book, The Enclave. Though I have not read the book, I saw the topic, and it caught my interest.
Near-future sci-fi. My definition: Any fictional story based on the present, or near present that revolves around a cutting edge science or technology.
The Enclave is near-future sci-fi, a genre that grabbed me when I was young and hasn't let go. In fifth grade, my favorite author became Michael Crichton after reading his Dino-rific thriller, Jurassic Park. After JP, I quickly read all his works, including his other near-future sci-fi: Congo, The Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, and Sphere. Timeline and Prey came out later, and both are books I enjoyed thoroughly.
All this to say...near-future science fiction has the potential to be very powerful. Why? Because it's set in our present day world, not a distant time.
As a writer, I know how challenging it is to make the characters in a far-future sci-fi story interesting, and accessible. The writer has to jump through some hoops to make the story relate to the reader. With a near-future story, one doesn't have those same hoops. The only thing the author need do is make the "technology" plausible. For instance, cloning in Jurassic Park was on the brink of breaking wide open in the real world. All he had to do was make it believable to get dino DNA. An ancient mosquito caught in amber did the trick. And walla! You have dinosaurs in our present world.
That's the power of near-future sci-fi, it brings the future (or the past) to modern times. The reader can completely relate to the world/setting, because it's the present. There is no struggle to try and "get into" a foreign other worldly place. (this isn't to say that I don't love otherworldly sci-fi, because I do!!!! But near-future allows for fun of a different sort).
The supermarket isles are full of this type of science fiction (and fantasy). I believe the reason this fiction sells so well is because of the inbuilt desire we humans have to experience wonder; to be amazed; to glimpse something supernatural. We WANT to experience something other than a plain, ordinary natural world. Though some may disagree, I believe we live in a supernatural world created by a supernatural being...I guess that's why I write this sort of fiction.
If this has piqued your interest in near-future sci-fi, check out what some other bloggers are saying about Karen Hancock's, Enclave!
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Heather R. Hunt
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson