Seeing The Future

Its October, the leaves are falling, the witches are abroad, and I’ve opened the blog up to guest writers again. Yes its Indie October. Throughout October some old favourites among my guests will be returning along with some new voices. Today’s Guest Post comes to you from Teesside’s own Nostradamus, futurist, and terrifyingly smart queen of Crypto currency Kate Baucherel

Writing near-future science fiction can be a challenge in more ways than one. I grew up steeped in scifi, dreaming of far future and fantasy worlds from Earth and Mars to the Culture, the Uplift universe, Middle Earth, and the Discworld. When I started to build the world of the SimCavalier, however, the timing of the first tale was dictated by the subject matter and the plot. I had to make it familiar enough to readers that the message of good cybersecurity practice hit home. I had an idea about criminals playing the financial markets as cryptocurrencies came to equal the power of sterling, and my gut feeling was that it had to be placed no later than 2050. I wanted to let loose all the automated tools which are lurking on the edge of our vision right now. I ended up in the mid-2040s, and ran with it.

Soon after publishing the first book, strange things began to happen. Innovations which I had pitched twenty years hence started to appear in real life. Delivery robots were pictured falling off kerbs in the snow in Milton Keynes. Bitcoin, which had been quite niche when the tale was titled, suddenly exploded into public consciousness. Cybercriminals pushed malware out with legitimate software updates. I took note of all this for the second adventure, Hacked Future, and made a greater effort to extrapolate and invent less plausible scenarios. The destruction of Notre Dame cathedral, for instance, or a backstory of a global pandemic.

Oops.

The third adventure of Cameron and the team, Tangled Fortunes, is deep in final edits and is available for pre-order now. I have already seen whispers about some of the imagined scenarios making their way into real life – mining landfill sites for precious metals, for example (no spoilers!). It has been suggested that in another era I might have been burned as a witch, evoking shades of Agnes Nutter.

Where does all this come from? One thing that most writers quickly discover is that their style is buried deep inside them and they have little choice over how they present their stories. It seems that the writing voice I had as a child has resurfaced as an adult. I remember spending hours at an old typewriter creating my own derivative stories in the worlds of Dr Who, the Tomorrow People, and Star Wars, including one memorable attempt at a script with some willing chums who acted it out in the park. I simply played complete scenes in my head and wrote down what I saw. A black and white TV with three channels was enough at that time to inspire my visual imagination. Now, I’m working in technicolour.

“I can almost see the director just out of shot,” said editor Gillie Hatton, her red pen working overtime on Tangled Fortunes. She’s hit the nail on the head: everything I write I see in my mind’s eye and describe for the reader. I couldn’t write any other way, and it’s important for all writers to realise that their own voices are distinctive and unique. When I open any of the Harvey Duckman anthologies, I know the individual tones of my fellow authors and I embrace the familiarity. For those I’ve met, I can almost hear them narrating their stories. There is such a spectrum of storytelling, of styles, of points of view, and it is all down to the voice of the individual.

I’m still chasing the future and writing down the scenes which flash through my mind. For now, though, I invite you enjoy the third SimCavalier novel, Tangled Fortunes, which is released on Halloween and can be pre-ordered on Kindle.

About Kate Baucherel (by Mark)

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Kate Baucherel is a digital strategist, a writer of both non-fiction books that explain technology while making you laugh, cyber-crime sci-fi (her third SimCaviler novel is much anticipated this year), and short stories for the Harvey Duckman Presents series (her Christmas tale was particularity compelling). She is also an internationally renown expert on Blockchain, an occasional guest lecturer at universities, as well as a panellist and speaker at technology conferences around the world. More importantly Jackie Carlton once bought her a drink and she has been known to dress up as Han Solo at Halloween (or whenever else she can get away with it probably). If that is not intimidating enough, she is also is a black-belt in several martial arts including Karate, octopus catapults, parenting and the internet …

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