'Could Be Actual Science'

Fictional white papers, future science, not-yet-applicable theories… This is when fiction gets closer to science.
3 Nov 2018

A by-product of worldbuilding, speculative inventions often lead to imagining future science. The resulting theories make the fiction more believable through the possibilities they unlock, but also the tradeoffs they reveal. These serve as creative constraints and new vantage points for debating technological questions. 

At times, we need some cre­ative sci­ence to make ideas of the future extra plau­si­ble. To place spec­u­la­tions beyond ques­tion­ing and avoid let­ting our ideas rely on mere mag­ic, we build as much as pos­si­ble upon exist­ing sci­ence and technology.

‘Mag­ic-proof­ing’ is a way to pro­tect the fic­tion. For exam­ple, when we share ideas of the future that revolve around social spec­u­la­tion, aware that the tech­nol­o­gy back­ing it up won’t be ready for anoth­er few years, we want to avoid the savvi­er few in the audi­ence to derail them by focus­ing on technicalities.

Such sit­u­a­tions call for addi­tion­al sci­en­tif­ic back­up to pro­vide con­text for the pro­posed tech­nol­o­gy. To that end, we might write fic­tion­al research, pub­lished as arti­cles or white papers, and based on exist­ing sci­ence. These tech­no­log­i­cal leaps of faith play a nar­ra­tive func­tion, but must not become some mirac­u­lous solution.