As the US election looms, Futures this week sees Marissa Lingen wonder about what kind of event really makes a mark on a given year in her story The most important thing. Marissa is no stranger to Futures, having introduced us to Maxwell’s Demon and time-travel problems, among other things (a full list of her Futures stories can be found at the foot of this post). You can catch up with Marissa on her website or by following her on Twitter. Here she looks how the US election catalysed her latest tale — as ever it pays to read the story first.
Writing The most important thing
It will be news to precisely zero people reading this blog that the United States is having a presidential election this year. If you have access to the Internet, you can’t avoid election coverage — I hesitate to call most of it ‘news’ — even if you’ve already made up your mind whom to vote for, even if you live somewhere else and would really prefer not to think about another country’s politics all the time.
In the middle of the N-ring circus that was the US electoral primary, some of my dearest friends had babies. And as I was smiling through the Internet at the pictures they were sending, I thought, if you asked my mom and dad what the most important thing that happened in 1978 was, they would say me. Absolutely they would say me. They wouldn’t hesitate for a moment. And because I’m a science-fiction writer, I started thinking about all the other things that can be someone’s biggest moment — one person’s happy diversion or silly entertainment or mildly sad post to scroll past on their social media is the centre of another person’s life.
That’s how this story grew. Everyone’s world has a centre, but they’re not the same from person to person.
More Futures stories by Marissa Lingen
Alloy | Search strings | Quality control | Entanglement | Unsolved logistical problems in time travel: spring semester | The stuff we don’t do | Maxwell’s Demon went down to Georgia | Boundary waters | The many media hypothesis