I have been inordinately quiet recently. This is largely down to what I like to call ‘day dreaming’. The art of day dreaming is often forgotten or down played when we discuss the craft or practice of writing. As if day dreaming is something a child would do and that any time employed in it is wasted time but all stories start in this part of the mind. All stories are part dream and part everyday. When we discuss speculative we have to consider that we are considering worlds that do not exist but that mirror or are rooted in the world the writer inhabits now. Even great literature draws on the zeitgeist, the ghost of the moment, the dreams, hopes and fears of a society. In SF, Wells is often downplayed for his daydreams, his fantastical journeys, his world of tomorrow where the Eloi are food for the Morlock but we forget that Wells is looking to the social concerns of his era, the rich feeding on the work of the poor to become richer. All that Wells does is dream. Greg Bear ditches language for semiotics in Eon, and with the rise of the emoji and online communication we too now have a two tier form of communication in a world with an ever expanding population. In 1999, there were 6 billion of us, in the 1960s just over half of that and nowadays? Well, we have smashed the 7 billion mark and are tipping over in the next round of numbers. In just 20 years, 2 billion of us have arrived. This simply means that day dreaming is necessary in a world where there are too many, and it is becoming too hot or too wet to stay were we may have grown up. Even New Orleans has not recovered from Katrina, it never will and there will come a time when it will be abandoned.
I have been day dreaming, day dreaming of geo-engineering and a world that embraces technology until it becomes an Achilles heel. Our pressing problem of today is not population – though we should discuss it – our hip, let’s talk about it problem isn’t even climate change – and it should be – the problem weighing heavy on middle England is single use plastics. Even though all three points are linked we have chosen to see a global problem as a personal choice. Ditch the straws. You should but that isn’t the real problem. It’s what is out there already that’s the problem and that is my first leap into a day dream of how we can get rid of that, and how it can go wrong. That is the start of the story, a what if? A hell, oh no! A world stripped bare by geo-engineering in overdrive because let’s face facts we do not do things correctly or patiently. Science does. People don’t. If you want to see the proof, look at population, look at plastic on your street, look at how we see the world as something that we can discard.