Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Post: Inventing the Future: Technology-Susan Kaye Quinn

Sometimes I’m asked if I use my engineering background (Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, worked for NASA, studied global warming) in my stories. The answer is, of course, YES! But I also use my background as a wife and mother, bike rider and cake baker. I think writers put bits of themselves in their stories—it’s hard not to. But my techie background does come in handy when dreaming up gadgets and technology for the future.

In my paranormal/SF teen novel Open Minds, I fast forwarded the world nearly a hundred years, to give time for the evolution of mindreading (and mindjacking) to occur. But the world didn’t stand still in that time. We certainly wouldn’t have the same cars or computers or phones, but how can you know what the future will look like?

Sometimes I can barely figure out what tomorrow will bring.

I started out by looking at the past. What had changed in the last 100 years? What did the world look like in the 1910’s? I could expect similarly large changes to happen going forward (probably more so). In the 1910’s, refrigerators were invented and Ford christened their moving assembly lines. We had tanks and machine guns that required 4-6 people to run them. We fought a war with U-boats (submarines) and aeroplanes (airplanes). Much was different, but much was the same.
I tried to keep a different but same flavor in the future world of Open Minds.

I envisioned phones would still be around—they’re handy—but they would get exponentially cooler. With the world becoming filled with mindreaders, I pictured an exodus of people from crowded cities for the suburbs and countryside, where they could spread out and escape each other’s thoughts. Range (thought-wave-range) ordinances would spring up to enforce the separation that would keep society civil. A sprawling metropolis of well-spaced dwellings would require extensive public transportation, something that could be reasonably accomplished in a hundred year time span.

The engineering came in handy for dreaming up taxicabs with programmable autopaths and mindware interfaces. But I feel like I’m running out of room as the world catches up with the e-readers I put into the story just two years ago! The risk of science fiction is always that science fact will show you up.

I’m currently writing Closed Hearts (Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy) and having more fun with gadgets and technology. If you’ve read Open Minds, you know the changes are just beginning, and some of those Book Two changes will be in the technology as well. Time to study up on my neuroscience …

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available for $2.99 in e-book (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and $9.99 in print (Amazon).


  1. Even better news? Susan's book is on sale today for 99 cents!

  2. Awesome! I've been meaning to download this to my Nook. I've been trying to catch up on my pile of print books that I've neglected my e-reader.

    Also, I didn't realize this book was set in the future. How cool!

  3. I think inventing the future is fascinating. There are so many possibilities and facets of life to predict. Awesome post.

  4. @Stephsco Thanks for getting Open Minds! I hope you enjoy it!

    @Medeia It is all kinds of fun. :)


You should leave me a comment. It would probably make me smile and then I will probably comment back. Unless you are a spambot. Then I will probably just ignore you.