Last week I reviewed a science fiction piece that referred to a train capable of doing 200kph as a “bullet” train. I insisted that in the far future, a 200kph train should be so commonplace, they should just be called “trains.” In fact, having grown up in the era of “bullet” trains, I already think of them as commonplace.
When you are writing in a time period, it’s important to see the world through the eyes of your characters. To me, my 2006 Honda CRV is a typical, small SUV. To the driver of a model-T Ford, it would have been considered a mechanical marvel. In 30 years, I’ll probably remember my CRV fondly, but as no comparison to my China First J49S-274Y 2040, which is powered by my own brainwaves, and urine.
So, if you are, right now, writing a book in 1913 about life in 2013, and your character gets into his 2006 CR-V there’s no need to mention that it has computer-controlled all wheel drive, traction control, and anti lock brakes. Don’t even bother to mention how easily the CR-V blazes past the Model T’s top speed of 45 miles per hour with its 156 horsepower engine. In 2013, very few people care about such things. They just get in the car and drive.