Friday
Aug302019

The Thin Line between Science Fiction and Science Fact

             A point was brought up that THE SURVIVALIST series has become too “science fiction” over the years.  I don’t know.  I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide but I will state my case as to why we let it happen.

            In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell makes the world's first long-distance telephone call, over a distance of about 6 miles.  With the device we carry with us, we can project our words into outer space, take studio-quality photographs, grocery shop, and play games.  Henry Ford started his auto business in 1903.  Many people might say he also was the inventor of highway congestion.  The Wright brothers are credited with the invention of the first working airplane that same year thus causing mass disturbance to our once peaceful skies.

            My dad was born in 1898.  At a very early age, he helped to support his family by propelling a horse-driven wagon through the streets of New York, making deliveries.  Sort of an early version of what would become UPS or FedEx.  Here is this little kid controlling a huge animal, pulling a dray wagon past peddlers who are pushing wooden carts loaded with produce while keeping a watchful eye out for the horse-drawn trolley carrying its passengers about town. It must have been an exciting place to live and to watch the world change so quickly.

            Eager to see more of the world, he rode the rails wherever they took him until he eventually settled down.  He found work, bought himself a Ford and eventually dated and married my mom.  They rented part of a two-flat apartment where she washed clothes in a large tub, using a washboard and hung everything outside to dry. They eventually got a telephone with a two-party-line, a black desk set with a chunky cord, which they used until the late 1950s.

            By the time I started working in downtown Chicago during the late 60s, I too rode a trolley each morning, although this trolley was powered by a cable line above the street that fed electricity to the vehicle via a pole that could swivel enough to allow the trolley some flexibility to maneuver.  Occasionally, the driver made a move that allowed the pole to disengage from its power source and passengers were stranded until help arrived to reconnect.  Today we have cars and trucks that can travel driverless.  Bullet trains in China travel at speeds of up to 200 MPH and a Tesla Roadster can do 250 MPH.  Yes, it’s claimed that a Hennessey Venom F5 clocks at 301 MPH!  My first car was a 1960 Hillman Minx that maxed out at 65 MPH; any faster and it shook so badly you could barely hold onto the steering wheel.

            When Jerry and I first started planning out the continuation of The Survivalist story after the Rourke’s had slept for many hundreds of years, we realized a decision had to be made as to what sort of world they were returning to.  Would it be inhabited by animal-like humans, cult worshipers or would it be a dead, wasteland?  Our decision was to create a world just as diverse as the one before.  Some things might have taken a step back, some remained the same and some ideas took a giant leap forward.

            Many of the technological advances written about in Mid-Wake were real or at least on the drawing boards.  We consulted with experts in the diving and underwater fields as to what would be coming in the future and we incorporated these advances into the books giving our characters a glimpse of what the new world could be under the right circumstances. 

            Yes, The Survivalist has aliens and cloaking devices, and advanced medical procedures, as well as underwater cities, but it also has crooked politicians, kidnappers and rapists, just as well as people who are determined to make the world a better place.  Our real world has encountered the genius and vision of da Vinci as well as the evil madness of Hitler. The world of The Survivalist should be no different.  One world is real; the other is fiction, catalogued as science fiction or adventure.  Fiction is not real but can reflect both reality and what the author sees as our future.

            John Thomas Rourke is still fighting for the same values he did in the 1980s and he and his companions will continue to do so.  So don’t think that Rourke’s world has changed too much, same problems, maybe different solutions.  When it comes time, Rourke pulls one of his thin dark cigars from his shirt pocket and the battered Zippo from the watch pocket in his jeans and lights up.  He shrugs his shoulders to straighten his Alessi shoulder holster carrying his twin Detonics pistols and mounts his Harley, ready to take on another battle. 

Sharon

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