As far as good writing goes, usually the devil is in the details. When writing about the present, many authors usually try to draw from personal experience. Some authors go to length to experience really dangerous and awkward situations to be able to depict them accurately in their stories. That can be a challenge but it is not impossible. Things get tougher when writing about the past. Here one can't rely on personal experiences unless some day time travel becomes a reality. So the writer has to depend on second hand information. He has to pore over numerous accounts regarding the period of time he is covering in his story to get a mental image of how things would have been in those times. Wherever details are not there, he has to fill up the gaps with consistent assumptions. Now how about the future? That too not the near future but really distant future! This is the task faced by writers of science fiction. Different writers deal with this differently. Easiest way is to keep the narrative sketchy. Another way is to keep most of the things same as current times but add futurist elements in some aspects alone. A third alternative is to go full throttle but hope the reader would forgive them for internal inconsistencies. It takes a real master to take up all the aspects of environment, society, economy, politics, technology, culture and social values and extrapolate them into the distant future in full detail and weave a story around them. The one master who has accomplished this is Frank Herbert in his Dune series – a magnum opus indeed!
Click here to read the rest of this article on my blog dedicated to science fiction, fantasy and Historic Fiction.