Skin colour in sci-fi writing – a future perspective

corporationhands

The hands represent the top five corporations in my book

When I set out to write a sci-fi novel set over a thousand years into the future, I wanted to dissolve culture down into its basic building blocks and then rebuild it in a distorted and twisted corporate image. Imagine being locked in a room all your life with nothing but a bunch of Dyson hoover manuals for company, you’d be pretty messed up. By the end you would be shouting out phrases and bullshit, taking about nozzle collectors and brush length like it was gospel –this is Future Grim— well, my interpretation of a solely corporate dominated future.

What does that mean? What does it have to do with skin colour?

Good point, but I feel you need the set up to understand the problem I presented myself with.

Prejudice as a concept is never going to disappear. It will take a few more generations for us to stop discriminating against women, let alone against different skin colours. I feel that prejudice is here to stay for the long haul and is just a basic element of our fear abiding brains telling us to be scared of the unknown, get to shelter and feed yourself and your family.

In my future, your life is devoid of the culture we understand today. You grew up in a heavily designed and controlled environment (know as the corporate culture) where political correctness has been taken to its peak (you could say, a political acceptance). This leaves a prejudice vacuum in which hatred is directed at rival corporations. Initially this would be to incentivise healthy competition, but after generations it would soon grow to fill the discrimination gap.

So I was left writing my story set in a world without the standard culture or discrimination that we are so familiar with today. Initially to combat that I left out skin colour description all together so that the reader could imagine a character as looking Asian, European, African ect. This however backfired as most of my characters ended up feeling European, because of the heavy use of corporate terminology and ideas that permeate throughout my universe. I didn’t want to describe characters as being from certain countries as this then brings along the cultural baggage that those countries have. Suddenly a character who is described as having a Latino complexion has a slight Spanish twang with every word they speak.

This lead me to my recent revelation of how to describe skin colour in my book. As with all great corporate things, it stems from categorisation. This one being standard plus or minus one.

Standard = Light brown

Standard plus one = Darker brown

Standard minus one = Lighter brown

It goes on in either direction to the different shades, with plus or minus three being the limits on either end. This should hopefully elevate my current cultural problems until I find the next common thing I need to describe.

Of course this doesn’t solve all the problems, but it does allow me to limit the focus on race (and allow myself to have a racially mixed set of characters) while still following the corporate culture that my universe demands.

What have other people done in their fiction to tackle these subjects, are they a part of your plot or have you done something similar to be because the world demands it? I’d love to hear from fellow creators.

In other news, I recently purchased www.klcarter.co.uk, which currently just leads to this blog. When I get some spare cash I’ll invest in a website or something.

I’m still editing Future Grim: Origins at the moment, but it’s coming along leaps and bounds. I’ve had plenty of great suggestions from my test readers (both happen to be crazy scientists) that has allowed the little kinks in my story to be ironed out.

Keep it spacey,

Kyle Carter

Pokemon: How it Changed my Thoughts

FutureGrimInfo

I grew up in the clutches of the yellow rat. I’m not a fan of Pokémon any more, but it’s not the plot lines or the characters, but the monetary addiction I had as a child.

The cards were expensive. My pocket money fluttered off into the pockets of monsters. So much Lego wasn’t bought, so many sweets left un-tasted. The real lesson for me was when the next craze came in, disrupting their crown. Bayblades took over as the childhood hero and I was left with a bunch of worthless cards. But I did not fret, I abstained from these childhood pursuits (and I saved my money for something).

This simple act has shaped my life. I’ve not jumped into the popular things simply because of their popularity, but because of their merit or personal interest. Peer pressure will never be able to grasp me again.

I’m not sure my life would be the same without that one choice. I certainly wouldn’t be writing a book about a world in which man can’t control their own actions.

I hope to do more explanations into how my past has shaped who I am today.

Think happy thoughts,

KL Carter

Francis Kennerman – The Glory Years

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A quick update with a drawing of Francis Kennerman. One of the main characters from my book.

Young Francis

 

I was trying to capture his arrogance and thoughtfulness. I might put a bit more time into this in the future, but I quite like it as it is.

Till next time,

KL Carter

The Ratter Logo

FutureGrimInfo

Ratter is the fifth highest corporation and a very secretive bunch of people.

(I did a previous Logo Exploration that you can find here. However it was back when I was persistent in the idea of including the whole name in the logo, which didn’t really work in hindsight).

You can't call them spineless!

This is the Ratter Logo. Following on with the same style as the rest. However this logo varies in shape, being a tad bigger than the others.

The subject of the Ratter logo is a spine. They are seen as those who put in a backbreaking amount of work. The Ratter are also prone to sticking to their values and holding on until the bitter end. You can expect the Ratter to be quiet and reserved, saving their strength for a fight worth extruding effort. Don’t however confuse them for being lazy, as they will cut you without a second thought.

I like parts of this one and dislike other bits. However it does have a certain feel to it that I’m quite pleased with.

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On writing news, I’ve took a day off today and made a structurally unsound Lego castle. Ah, the simple joys in life.

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The Ratter Logo is also part of the cover design. It ended up looking a bit spooky and mysterious, which pleases me.

May the cold keep you warm,

KL Carter

The Franklin Logo

FutureGrimInfo

Franklin is the fourth highest corporation. They were the original trendsetters but they have lost touch over the last century.

(I did a previous Logo Exploration that you can find here. However it was back when I was persistent in the idea of including the whole name in the logo, which didn’t really work in hindsight).

Brains!

The Franklin Logo is a bit more complicated, but I’ve still tried to keep the overall design quite simple.

The subject this time is quite obvious. Franklin has always been at the forefront of technological advances.The shape is also reminiscence of a badge because of Franklin’s tendency to ‘police’ the areas without proper control measures.

I still like this one, but it’s my least favourite out of the five. I could never get it looking ‘perfect’.

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Writing wise, I’ve done a chapter review with a friend. I’ve also been helping him with his story, being sort of a personal trainer for writing. It sounds silly but I feel it could be an avenue of business I could get into, as I’m good at it.

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The Franklin Logo is also part of the cover design. Tomorrows Logo will be Ratter’s.

Keep safe,

KL Carter

The Volan Logo

FutureGrimInfo

Volan is the third highest corporation and the rival of Kennerman.

(I did a previous Logo Exploration that you can find here. However it was back when I was persistent in the idea of including the whole name in the logo, which didn’t really work in hindsight).

It will stare you into submission.

This is the Volan logo. It follows the design principles of the Kennerman Logo. Simple style, sharp lines and only a few focus points.

The subject of the logo is a more subtle addition. Volan’s chosen human asset is vision, whether that means vision of a better future or the ability to learn from their past mistakes. The ovals shyly represent the Volan’s ever vigilant eye.

This is one of my favourites from the ones I’ve made. It captures the company perfectly and really fits with the characters.

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On writing news, I’ve just finished Ch9. I had a dry spot for a few weeks were I was feeling a bit out of sorts. Now I’m back in action putting out 900 words per day.

Bregan Mencarini is still hard at work on the music that will accompany the book. He has nearly finished track three. Yesterday I was speaking on Skype and he told me that “Track 2 is one of the best I’ve done in a while”. Speaking as someone who has heard Track 2, it really is very good and lives up to the hype. He has managed to mix eighties synths with more modern variants to give it a unique sound. It not only fits with the book, it brings the world to another level.

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The Volan Logo is also part of the cover design. The Volan colour features (as do the other corperations). It not only gives the cover an interesting style, it tells you something about the book. Which in my opinion, is very important. Tomorrows logo will be for a corporation called Franklin.

Just so,

KL Carter

Spaceships, what do they look like?

Image

I’ve always wanted to design my own space ships. The style of the ‘Corporate Punk’ world allows me to design something unusual, but could still exist.

I made this image in photoshop a while back and finished it off today. It’s a combination of many skyscrapers. The idea is a spaceship evolving into a horizontal Spacescraper of the void.

JoinKennermanPropPoster

 

The image itself is created to reflect the style of propaganda posters. I’d love to get an engineer in there with his thumb up on the right hand side, but my drawing skills just aren’t up to it at the moment.

It’s only a work in progress, so the design is likely to change, but this is at least the base.

Writing wise I’ve nearly finished the synopsis and I’m starting the bulk of my research. Research is an odd one for me. I really enjoy doing it but I find I get distracted easily by related topics. I’m meeting up with a friend to hack down my synopsis in a week or so, he is going to be acting as my ‘publisher’, in that I want him to be critical of my story.

In other news I’ve been helping a friend work on an alternative history fantasy pirate story. It’s coming along nicely and I should be able to share some of that on here soon.

Keep on trucking,

Kyle Carter