Thursday, November 1, 2012

Colonists' Dilemma

One of my dormant novels-in-progress (I'll get back to it; right now it's resting) takes place in a future distant enough that humans have left the confines of Earth to colonize other worlds. The world on which my story takes place contains evil parasites that find a way to conquer the humans, and...

I'm not going to bore you with the details. This is Thursday. That means I have a question.

Assume that we've advanced technologically enough to travel the vast distances to colonize other planets. What sorts of technology would those other worlds have? Cell phones? Computers? Music players? TV? The ability to talk to Earth?

Or, would those colonists attempt to simplify and get back to nature (even if that "nature" is alien to them)? Would constantly being in contact with everyone all the time be something that they'd want to get away from?

(I've been debating this. World building. It's a challenge.)


  1. They had that series last year or something where people escaped a dystopian future by traveling back in time to the land of the dinosaurs, where they lived in treehouses and made their own toilet paper (I'm guessing, I didn't watch) and I remember thinking "Who on Earth would voluntarily give up all the great technological advances we have if they did not have to do so for some supercompelling reason?"

    I would not.

    When I think how awesome it is that whereever I am I can communicate with others in a variety of forms, that I can quickly look up medical information and/or who "Heather Thomas" was, when I can make a video of what I am looking at and edit it and send it to people and put it on the Internet all from a tiny handheld device, I almost get choked up. I really do. Why WOULDN'T we bring that?

    Most of humanity's existence was (is) a long slog uphill from "dying of typhoid at thirteen" to "dying of worn-out body parts because we lived long enough to actually have our bodies just sort of fade away." People romanticize "back to nature" and pioneer times... but not me. I want vaccines and chicken nuggets and my smart phone and access to all of the world's information all the time.

    So I say they'd take it with them. Getting email spam on an alien world is a small price to pay for being able to instantly text someone to say the Giant Radioactive Platypi Of Althatron IV are closing in on the colony.

    (You can use the Giant Radioactive Platypi in your book, if you'd like.)

  2. Just let your imagination roam, Liz. That's part of the joy of being a reader. I pick up your book and you answer those questions for me and I am delighted to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

  3. Joss Whedon created a universe where both existed. There were planets with all the latest shiny technology and others just the opposite.

    But I agree with Michael's advice. Maybe start writing a little of both and see which one grabs you?

  4. Why not both? They live in harmony with the nature of the planet, but have cell phones to keep in contact because things can get crazy fast. Computers to catalog all the different protocols for living on an alien world--what plants are edible, what will kill you, what is useful, that sort of thing. Nature and technology don't have to be mutually exclusive.


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