Okay, where’s my towel? I need to throw it in.
Seriously, what’s a poor S/F writer to do? All I wanted was to have some fun with a few classic tropes of the genera: a metal arm here, a blast ray there, you know the sort of thing. And most importantly, I wanted to be able to make up the rules for these things. That’s half the point of science fiction, being able to have the kind of control over the setting of your story where even things like the rules of the technology can be used to reinforce themes and underline character points. Koda’s arm is supposed to be obvious, impossible to conceal, because it’s a symbol. It represents the ways in which war has literally and physically dehumanized him, and it stands in for the invisible mutilation of personality and identity he as experienced. It’s important, dang nab it!
But now science is trying to take that away from me. It looks like the future isn’t going to have any metal arms in it. It’s going to be full of extremely realistic plastic prosthetics that can even move like flesh and blood, since they will be based on the same arrangements of muscle groups. These things will probably be freaking invisible.
“What the heck are you talking about, Anna?” you ask. Oh, sorry. I forgot to give you guys the context before I started ranting. Here you go. Read that, and you will understand.
I don’t…I mean, I can’t…. WHAT THE HECK, GUYS!
Okay, okay, yeah I admit it, this is pretty cool. I mean, really cool. Robots that can possess all the dexterity of human hands, and can go places that would be deadly to humans because of radiation or extremely low temperatures (you know, like space), who wouldn’t think that’s cool?
But…but what about me? What about my story? It’s too late to take out the metal arm and give Koda scaly skin or something like that. So what do I do?
I guess I just have to admit that the point of science fiction is almost never actually the science. Sure, there are exceptions, stories that are more speculative fiction then science fiction, stories that take a “what if?” and make a whole world out of it. But honestly, I don’t really enjoy those stories that much. They tend to be a little thin on the character building, and to miss most off the emotional impact of events in favor of focusing on the minutia of world building. I know some people love that, and more power to them, but I’m just not one of them.
My story is about people. Well…people and aliens, I guess. And half-human half-aliens. You know what I mean.
And the science is just background. It doesn’t run the story. It supports it. If the technology becomes the focus in place of the characters, then I’m doing something wrong.
So it’s okay that there won’t really be metal arms in the future of our world. There are metal arms in this future, and that’s what matters in this story. I hope