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Posts Tagged ‘Flash Gordon’

After a weekend with bouts of sunshine, we’re back to snow here and I can’t help wondering if Mother Nature is trying to tell us something.

I wanted to talk about it in this post – but I couldn’t see a way to revisit weather (again) in a new way.  And then I thought about Flash Gordon – the 1980, Queen-soundtracked film version – which starts with strange weather phenomenon.

I remember watching the clouds billowing over the sun and being gripped when I was little.  That film was so much fun, it deserves a post of its own – but I didn’t want to get too sidetracked by it, so I just watched the song video for a couple of minutes.

The video contains clips from the film and one of these was of hailstones.  That brought to mind the film The Day After Tomorrow which in turn gave me a new idea: I moved away from the weather and into possible futures.  Specifically, futuristic stories.

I’m no expert, but I’ve read a few and watched a lot more, and they seem to fit within particular categories.  Here are three that I’ve come across a few times:

Dystopias

I love a well-written dystopian future.  Books like 1984, Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale have stayed with me for years after reading, and have shaped my own perception of what a futuristic novel should look like.  A dystopia is basically a flawed and damaged future, socially and politically undesirable, and it is important to know that not everyone in the society will perceive it as such.  1984 in particular has found its way into our modern vocabularies in a number of ways to describe less-than-ideal matters.

Invasions

Some futures are defined not by humans, but by aliens.  The story you see is either about the invading alien – a recent example of this is the book The Host – or about the humans fighting back or just trying to survive, as in The War of the Worlds.  The important thing is that the aliens in these examples are an enemy.

Catastrophes

This covers many different areas: climate change, volcanic eruption, asteroid impact for example.  The Time Machine touches on this.  When I was in school, there was a series of books about people surviving a nuclear war – sadly I can’t remember what they were called, but they explored how people had to change their behaviour to survive.  When I write futuristic stories this is actually where I start – what has gone wrong?  Why are humans behaving in a particular way?

You’ll notice that catastrophes are common in film, although we don’t really get to see the future so much as know the hero/heroine have survived the catastrophe itself and now have to face the future.  That’s what’s great about writing: you can explore as far into the future as you like.

Any story needs a background: even if it’s not mentioned in the book/story itself you as the writer need to understand the roots of the tale.  If you’re writing about a future society, you need to know how the world has shaped society in that way, and hopefully this list will give you a few ideas.

If you can think of any other categories, please let me know in the comments!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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