Previous posts in the Theme-Worldbuilding Integration Series are indexed here:
Posts with two or more skills plus Integration in the title are about "walking and chewing gum" or multi-tasking, orchestrating and co-ordinating the separately studied skills of novel construction and writing (and reading).
In posts titled Theme - we examine the conscious and unconscious assumptions about the nature of reality, our subjective impressions of reality, our civilization's standards of thinking-feeling-believing, and what the writer of fiction, especially Romance and all sub-genres of it (Science Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Alien Romance) can add to humanity's sum total of knowledge about humanity (and aliens).
Aliens are the focus of this blog, romance, love, appreciation, admiration, awe, and fear of Aliens is the emotional content of these posts on Theme.
Today let's look at an overview of the headlines from 2018, which I've collected in an ephemeral web page collection (they delete "old" items before I'm ready) presented by Clipboard.
My magazines are listed here - and you can "follow" them on a Flipboard account (free).
And here is the link to the magazine I'm talking about in this post, today.
Is one of my "magazine" collections of items found around the web -- it is a collection of news items on archeology, paleontology, history, current science, space exploration, astrophysics, and any other (apparently) unrelated topic.
When you stitch "time" together into a fabric -- where humanity has been, where it is now, where it is going -- you "world build" a background for your Characters.
Which items you select from a collection (which I presume you will make on Flipboard or some other service) to stitch together will determine your theme -- or alternatively, after you've determined your theme, you will go find items that enlarge your perception of that issue.
Fiction, especially any Science based speculation with human Characters, is a discussion, a conversation among many writers publishing contemporaneously, and readers -- who may be reading in the far future.
These conversations, a cacophony of noise produced by groups circling and yelling at each other over the sound of other such groups, a cocktail party room full of conversations, contain our past and create our future.
That has become plain recently as backlist science fiction is being read on Kindle and e-book by younger people who don't remember the years those books were first published -- or the condition of the world when they were published.
Thus we have large groups bristling at the song, BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE, (a perfectly innocent song about the reasons why we bother to establish relationships of spirit to spirit, as well as body to body). Those offended consist of two main groups -- those who remember the abuse that song is based on, and those who remember those behaviors as non-abusive.
So the THEME might be: There were many good people way back then who were not sexist.
Suppose your THEME contained the assumption (unchallenged in the plot) that reincarnation is real, and happens (all the time; or in special cases). Suppose your plot focuses on Near-Death experiences and experiments deliberately creating and recording such experiences.
Lots of articles appear from time to time to be stitched together to build a World where Characters involved in trying to determine the "truth" or to demonstrate a "truth" they "know" to be real.
A quick read-through gives you the picture of a future time where this issue is settled, and not a matter of resistance or controversy. Everyone assumes it to be so, just as today everyone assumes DNA is real.
How would Characters in that World you Built around Reincarnation find their Soul Mates? Would it take a near-death-experience to "know" who you once were, and therefore whether this new Love of Your Life is your Old Soul Mate?
In 2018, publicists were paid to bring the old topic of VIBES (from the 1960's) to the surface of popular-science-media ––– "popular science" being mostly unrelated to laboratory science that requires math to understand.
Study how certain topics are chosen among all topics to be promoted by publicists. Study the world of the "Press Release" (various online sources) where individuals can write up a press release about anything they've done. Literally thousands of these items flood media editors and writers mailboxes every day (in fact ever hour). Which ones get chosen, and why?
To bring a topic up to where many news outlets choose to do an article (pay a writer to read up and write; pay editors to edit what got written, pay the publishing costs for the website, pay for graphics because you've got to have a picture even if it doesn't explain anything), costs a lot of money.
Check out this article surfacing "Vibes" -- the graphic is just artwork, but it cost money to make, and to get the rights to publishing in a for-profit operation. Yet two large publishers (independently?) decided to choose this one topic from among the thousands of Press Releases - both at the same time. How did that happen? On merit? On personal phone calls from publicists?
That's why most press releases written by an individual who is involved in the Event and therefore thinks him/herself news-worthy are ignored by for-profit news outlets.
It costs a lot to "get a topic" to the top of the press release stack. You can tell how much money went into pushing a topic up the ladder by how many outlets cover that topic within a narrow time frame.
Spotting promoted topics is a necessary skill to stitching time together into a World you can Build around a THEME.
Theme is a good, solid foundation for building a World. But it works the other way, too. Our World is a good, solid foundation from which to build a THEME.
Then there are all the classic themes about Robots, and Artificial Intelligence.
Star Trek (ToS) introduced us to "Captain Dunsel" (when Kirk became useless on an experimental shakedown cruise for an AI Captain).
Just as with random citizens physically attacking "self-driving" Waymo cars in the Phoenix-Tempe Arizona area for fear of malfunctions, so Star Trek in the 1960's presented us a failure of an AI Captain.
Other science fiction has pointed out the horror of successful AI.
The TV Series (Netflix Original) TRAVELER depicts the results of an AI in the far future over-populated, failing Earth sending human consciousnesses back to our time to tweak Events so that their world becomes sustainable.
Both these speculations have common THEMES.
THEME: FRANKENSTEIN -- what we build comes alive (ensouled?) and turns against us.
THEME: What we build saves us.
THEME: Whatever we build, it will malfunction just as we, ourselves, do.
So we've seen a lot of articles on the Internet of Things, and AI, and self-driving vehicles, in 2018 and I expect into 2025. These articles appear in spates, and seem to have promotional money behind them worldwide.
Of course, no amount of promotional money could make them "go viral" as they do. The topic itself is gripping -- and therefore of use to fiction writers who have something to say about it (pro or con).
Then we come to Elon Musk's wild visions -- like colonizing Mars. Somebody is going to DO IT -- government, corporation, idealistic religious group, refugees, escapees from AI driven world, -- whoever it is will die, a lot, just as those who colonized the Americas (north, sound and central). Maybe Mars won't have natives who fight back, but there will be many dangers beyond failure of technology and human ineptitude and rivalry.
Way back before, thousands of years before, the 1700's saw colonization of the Americas, people drifted and pushed down from the bridge into Alaska and down through North America all the way to the south of South America.
Another topic being pushed by money is how Archeologists are currently using DNA and new evidence of carbon layers (in stalactites in a Chinese cave) to follow the dispersion of humanity over this globe.
Early human dispersals within the Americas
J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar1,*, Lasse Vinner1,*, Peter de Barros Damgaard1,*, Constanza de la Fuente1,*, Jeffrey Chan2,*, Jeffrey P. Spence3,*, Morten E. Allentoft1, Tharsika Vimala1, Fernando Racimo1, Thomaz Pinotti4, Simon Rasmussen5, Ashot Margaryan1,6, Miren Iraeta Orbegozo1, Dorothea Mylopotamitaki1, Matthew Wooller7, Clement Bataille8, Lorena Becerra-Valdivia9, David Chivall9, Daniel Comeskey9, Thibaut Devièse9, Donald K. Grayson10, Len George11, Harold Harry12, Verner Alexandersen13, Charlotte Primeau13, Jon Erlandson14, Claudia Rodrigues-Carvalho15, Silvia Reis15, Murilo Q. R. Bastos15, Jerome Cybulski16,17,18, Carlos Vullo19, Flavia Morello20, Miguel Vilar21, Spencer Wells22, Kristian Gregersen1, Kasper Lykke Hansen1, Niels Lynnerup13, Marta Mirazón Lahr23, Kurt Kjær1, André Strauss24,25, Marta Alfonso-Durruty26, Antonio Salas27,28, Hannes Schroeder1, Thomas Higham9, Ripan S. Malhi29, Jeffrey T. Rasic30, Luiz Souza31, Fabricio R. Santos4, Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas32, Martin Sikora1, Rasmus Nielsen1,33,34, Yun S. Song2,33,35,†, David J. Meltzer1,36,†, Eske Willerslev1,37,38,†
See all authors and affiliations
Science 07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, eaav2621
Lots of people, worldwide, are participating in the effort to find out what happened thousands of years ago.
In Science Fiction Romance, we look for what will happen thousands of years hence.
Stitch the past to the future, via the present -- select just certain developments and explain how those developments are connected -- and you have THEME-WORLDBUILDING INTEGRATION.
Which archeological events, and theories explaining them, you choose defines your theme which is a statement about the nature of Reality.
If Reincarnation is real, who today lived during that first push down into the Americas?
Who were their Soul Mates, and what difference did their love make then? Are they both incarnated now, and what difference will their Love make in today's world, and the future?
Stitch the past to the present to the future, one Romance at a time.
If Love does indeed conquer all (the prevailing theme of all Romance genre stories), then Love conquers TIME as well, and you get another swing at the prevailing problems of humanity when you reincarnate.