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Interview with Stephanie Barr (2)

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  This week we have another returning author, Stephanie Barr. She is here to talk about her novel Saving Tessa.

What was the most surprising thing you found out while researching/writing your latest book?

Since the science fiction is just forty years in the future, I was extrapolating from current situations and just pushing it out a bit. I’ve lived through forty+ years of progress, but I gave it a push in ways that are different than we’ve progressed the past forty years (other than refining some specifics of IT which is where we’ve had the biggest improvements). Given the importance of global climate change, I went with a sudden push to really innovate the energy usage and transportation, which wasn’t too challenging.

Probably the closest to a surprise I ran into was some of the different battery technologies that are being pursued already (especially in Asia).

Why did you choose this setting?

My stories always start with characters. In this case, I wanted a super-genius, notably a technical prodigy, much like Howard Hughes but moved forward a hundred and fifty years. There are specific challenges and limitations for the uber-smart and I wanted to write about them through my character’s relationship with another very smart person (though not in the same way).

Originally, I was just going to speculate in the very near future, so only small changes mostly focused on Dylan (my character’s) own breakthroughs. However, I’m not fond of dystopian fiction and there’s a bunch of it coming out recently, so something to counter that was rolling around in my backbrain. After this last election, the pervasive sense of hopeless was pretty dispiriting so I pushed my story out forty years, incorporated a backlash from our current events that pushed particularly green technology significantly, which not only provided a contrast to the dystopian stories out there but was also cathartic because I didn’t think it implausible.

What’s unique about your world?

We’ve gone seriously green. Gasoline engines are a thing of the past and electric hovercars (far more fuel efficient) take advantage of high Tc superconductors and the electrical grid of solar (freaking) roadways which are now ubiquitous. Interfaces with electronics have been upgraded and paper is almost unknown. Dylan, aside from him contribution to hovercars, also specialized in personal protective gear, defensive rather than offensive. It’s a different spin than is frequently seen. Half of what’s interesting is what hasn’t changed all that much.

I’ve loosely tied it to my as-yet incomplete Codeslinger, which is the space/medical side of the same time frame. Space has a taken great strides (don’t go into this in the book) and ballistic launches (basically suborbital hops) are the Concorde of the day (only more expensive.

Also, of course, taser flies.

How real do you think the science is in your book?

I think it’s pretty plausible. I haven’t gone into the nuts and bolts of all of it, but the material science is pretty solid, the solar roadway/hovercar is speculative but not impossible (I wrote research papers on similar concepts in college, three decades ago). I actually can envision a solid state power storage scenario (moving away from chemical batteries) and I think it would change everything

Reason knows we could use a simpler more intuitive computer operating system.

What did you include that you wish was real today?

Would love Dylan’s Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) operating system. Love the idea of hovercars and solar roadways.

You know, and taser flies.

Anything else you would like to share?

It should be noted that Saving Tessa is a story about people that happens to be set in the near future so the science fiction is intended to make the time frame feel plausible without overshadowing the adventure story itself.

Here is the link to the previous interview with Stephanie Barr about her series Bete Novels the  Beast Within and Nine Lives.

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