Why We Write by Toby Weston
Sharing somebody else’s mind space, or allowing visitors into your own, is an intimate act. It requires a good chunk of audacity to reveal your thoughts and share them with complete strangers; this is certainly how I felt as a teenager, privileged to have been granted access to the worlds that Asimov, Adams, Heinlein, and Clark had created.
Exposure to these glittering Science Fiction utopias, and positive visions of a technological future, certainly shaped my thinking. The breakneck advancement of technology since—the propagation of digital networks; the advancement of AI; and the mind-boggling speed of automated systems—has only reinforced this techno-optimistic worldview.
If society is lagging behind some of these promises, perhaps it is just a lack of understanding that the possibilities and capabilities which I glimpsed three decades ago are finally entering humanity’s grasp…
I think this is why I write—to recreate for others that sense of teenage wonder at a world full of beguiling possibilities.
When possible, I try and empathize with the ‘baddies’ in my fiction. Good vs Evil can be too simplistic. In reality, challenges often come from the environment—both natural and man-made—rather than issuing from well-delineated malevolent antagonists. A corporation composed of [mostly] well-intentioned people can still cause tremendous damage!!
I write Hard Science Fiction because I want the worlds I create to seem tangible and authentic. My stories are a little more gritty than the idealistic mid-century-modern visions of Asimov et al—perhaps more Cameron’s Aliens than Spielberg’s ET. But I think the real world already looks enough like a 70s SciFi dystopia, that we don’t need any more post-apocalyptic grime.
I hope that my books paint a believable world and that my characters face real challenges. Ultimately, I hope I can inject some reasoned optimism into the debate and help others conceive a brighter vision of the future.
Above all though, my books are intended to be recreational; if my [not-so] secret agenda is to embed techno-utopian manifestos into my fiction, there must be hidden deep within Matroska layers of audacious, gripping, funny techno-adventure!!
Written by Toby Weston