terry w ervin II fantasy sci fi novels

Avoid Fiction Being Dated

Have you ever been reading a book, and a reference to a political figure, something in pop culture, or a tech gadget current a decade or more ago, disrupts your reading, knocks you out of the story’s flow? This was a concern when I sat down to write my first science fiction novel.

Relic Tech science fictionAlthough Relic Tech wasn’t my first published novel, it was the first novel I wrote. I began planning and outlining it way back in 1999. The actual writing began early in 2001.

When I started writing my first novel, I knew it’d be a long process. I’d never written a book before, and realized I’d have to teach myself along the way. Also, research had shown that finding a publisher (once I finished the novel) was a long process, whether I sought representation of an agent, or not. Fortunately, even back then, the major fantasy and scifi publishers accepted unsolicited manuscripts (slush). Self-publishing, other than through subsidy presses, was nearly nonexistent. The ebook revolution hadn’t really taken hold…or even showed signs of that happening.

With that in mind, I had a lot of ideas (technology) that I thought were fresh and new, and would become reality in the future. Many of my ideas were on target, but I expected such advances to take a while longer. Not a problem. But, in the end, I didn’t want my science fiction novel to be dated. Thus, the notion of Relic Tech entered the picture.

See, my main character, a Relic, would depend on late 20th century technology, despite the novel’s events happening over a century in the future. He uses a pump-action shotgun when magnetic pulse rifles and laser carbines are available. He uses padlocks with keys when various sensory electronic locks are available.

The idea of varying access and use of technology serving as a socio-divider was also a theme I wanted to explore, and the subsequent ostracization endured by the main character, a Relic, fell right into line with the story I wanted to tell.

A mix of old and new technology in conjunction with space travel? I’m not the only author to incorporate such a dichotomy into their work(s), both before I ever sat down to write, and even as I continue with my writing career today.

Relic Hunted science fictionIn my Crax War Chronicles, characters use computer clips and clamshell computers (think iPads and fist-sized laptops). Remotes with command icons? Think modern cell phones. I had genetically manipulated fish that glowed…which can be found today. A smaller version of the Bluetooth, Google glasses and more. Some characters use contact lenses that capture and transmit video images…which is not that far off—certainly not decades. Still, there are some advancements and technology not devised or invented that grace the pages of Relic Tech, and the sequel, Relic Hunted, which offers some satisfaction. But a benefit is that 4th Class Security Specialist Krakista Keesay is sort of retro, with his old-school skills and equipment, adding another element to his character and depth.

I’ll share someone else’s assessment of the novel and protagonist:

Guardian of Night Tony Daniel science fiction“The tech level premise is fascinating, but what really makes the novel special is the spirit of Krakista Keesay. Kra is a hero to root for—often underestimated, adept with brass knuckles, bayonet, shotgun, and all sorts of old style weaponry. He proves that, while technology matters, so do courage, intelligence, and daring.”Tony Daniel, Hugo-finalist, author of Metaplanetary & Guardian of Night

Clipboard BoxHow did I envision such items and gadgets becoming reality? An example: My wife was a case manager for clients that struggled with mental health issues. She carried around a combination metal box/clipboard (legal pad length). The metal box would open up to hold case notes (written and forms to be completed). I figured that in the future, a similar device would be available, an electronic/digital one, maybe a little smaller, but could serve the same purpose and more. Thus, the computer clip featured in the Crax War Chronicles was ‘born.’

If you’re curious as to some of the gadgets and tech found in my Crax War Chronicles, you just might have to give my novels a read. 😉  As for the reason it took so long for Relic Tech to be published? Unfortunately, that’s content for a whole different article.

Terry W. Ervin II

Terry W. Ervin II

Terry W. Ervin II is an English teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction. Beyond his new release, Thunder Wells, his Crax War Chronicles (science fiction) includes Relic Tech and Relic Hunted, and his First Civilization’s Legacy Series (fantasy) includes Flank Hawk, Blood Sword and Soul Forge. His short story collection, Genre Shotgun, contains all of his stories previously published in magazines, ezines and anthologies.

When Terry isn’t writing or enjoying time with his wife and daughters, he can be found in his basement raising turtles.

To contact Terry, or to learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at www.ervin-author.com and his blog, Up Around the Corner.
Terry W. Ervin II

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Author: Terry W. Ervin II

Terry W. Ervin II is an English teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction. Beyond his new release, Thunder Wells, his Crax War Chronicles (science fiction) includes Relic Tech and Relic Hunted, and his First Civilization’s Legacy Series (fantasy) includes Flank Hawk, Blood Sword and Soul Forge. His short story collection, Genre Shotgun, contains all of his stories previously published in magazines, ezines and anthologies. When Terry isn’t writing or enjoying time with his wife and daughters, he can be found in his basement raising turtles. To contact Terry, or to learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at www.ervin-author.com and his blog, Up Around the Corner.