If you’re anything like me, at least once you’ve wondered how it would be like to live in the Old West, be a Cowboy roaming the frontier, or perhaps a Knight in medieval times. But there’s no need to look so further back: some of us would settle for being a glamorous movie star in 1930s, a WWII hero in the 1940s or part of the American space program’s “Original Seven”, in the 1960s.
This is the result of hearing stories or reading or watching romanticized and “action-alized” versions of tales from those periods. We all know now that those were difficult times for most people. And the further back you look, the more difficult they were. Misery, disease and war. In short, most of these times would have actually been rather terrible to live in. And if you think of how uptight your grandfather probably feels/felt to you, just imagine how uptight his grand-grand-grand x 20 x grandfather from 500-years-ago would feel. Yeah. Chances are he wouldn’t laugh at any of your jokes. Maybe the ones with funny dismemberments.
But there was still, to some degree, truth to those stories – I mean there were once Cowboys roaming the frontier and Knights fighting just causes. And there were glamorous Hollywood stars in the 30s, WWII heroes in the 40s and brave astronauts in the 60s and 70s.
You’ve probably noticed that, apart from recent armed conflicts, fiction is failing to romanticize the following decades: the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s. Have you read or watched a movie that romanticized these times? If you did, it’s probably the exception. There aren’t a lot. Or, at least, not as much as there should be anyway, considering we’re talking about 4 decades ago already, wouldn’t you agree? Someone might say we’re still too close to those times for us to be able to “distanciate” ourselves from them and find the substance and charm to romanticize them. But that was never an issue in the past: you had “Back to the Future”(1985), that romanticized the 50s, only 30 years before it was produced. You had the “Right Stuff”(1983) that romanticized the American Space Program in the 60s – only 20 years before. And countless examples in literature.
So what’s wrong? I don’t know for sure. I doubt anybody does. But I have a theory – again, my 2 cents on the matter. I believe we’re getting less and less interesting. That our times are getting less and less interesting.
There’s a Chinese saying that goes “May you live in interesting times.” I found out like 10 years ago that it was actually a curse and, by interesting, it actually means “troublesome times”. As in war and people-dying-for-no-reason kind of times. I was very disappointed. Before I knew what it actually meant, I liked it a lot more as it made a lot more sense to me than it does now. So indulge me in pretending it means what I first thought it meant: its literal meaning. So I may simply say that the last 40 years have not been “interesting times”.
And the fact that writers haven’t found the necessary substance in the 80s, the 90s or the 00s to romanticize these periods is (almost) undeniable proof of just that.
Just think: the most stressing global fact we’ve lived in the turn of the year 2000 was the “Millennium Bug.” Remember when we all thought computers would fail with turn of the millennium and that, by the next day, there’d be no record of your bank account or that you ever owned the house you live in? That bug. The actual issue was that the date-field in computers only had 2 spots instead of 4 and that meant it would go from “99” (1999) to “00” (2000) and, since these weren’t in sequence like before, nobody knew how computers would react. Now romanticize that! Not easy, huh? How exciting can you make it? How jealous will people feel in 50 years for not being here to live these days? This is the kind of crappy substance writers have had to work with for the last 40 years. No wonder so many turned to science fiction. Unless you spice it up with superheroes, vampires, aliens or time travelling robots from the future, there’s not a lot (with epic-story potential or cinematic “spectaculararity”) going on in the present. Or in the last 40 years for that matter. Nothing truly worth fantasizing over by future generations.
If you consider that the 80s where the times when remakes, reboots and sequels kicked into gear, along with the evolve-and-not-revolutionize wave – in just about everything – it’s not hard to see why there aren’t exciting subjects to write about.
Being a child of the 70s as I am, I thought this couldn’t get any worse. Turned out I was wrong. I wasn’t counting on how smartphones and tablets would take over our lives. And so we went down a few more steps in the “uninteresting-lives” scale. I’m sure you’ve seen evidence of this yourself. You enter a room, be it your living room or some party lounge, and you find everybody checking stuff out on their smartphones. You can tell something’s wrong with that picture but you soon ignore that feeling and join them. True?
Can we get any less interesting? Yes, apparently. Unless we do something about it.
But fear not: Future Man is here.
Bruno De Marques.
Kirkus Reviews describes Future Man as a “Highly imaginative (…) action packed novel” … “This wildly creative work certainly takes readers to many unexpected places.”
RevolutionSF calls Future Man a “Thrilling adventure based on World War II history (…) made better by dialogue that really sounds like it comes from real people” adding that “The story takes place in present tense (…) It ratchets up the tension, as if it’s happening right now and you, the reader, are right there” concluding with “Future Man is a potent combo of history, science and adventure.”
Future Man is available now!
Hardcover, softcover and e-book editions are available in Amazon (all stores) | Apple iBooks | Google | Barnes & Noble | Ingram | Baker & Taylor | Bowker | Kobo | Scribd