Even in the future, the past can kill you


Author Alison Bruce visits Moving Target today. Alison’s first novel, Under A Texas Star, was published by Imajin Books last year. Her new thriller, Deadly Legacy, which has just been released in paperback, features rookie police detective, Kate Garrett. Kate’s father, the near-legendary PI Joe Garrett, has just died and has left her half-interest in Garrett Investigations, his last case that ties to three murders, a partner she can’t stand and a legacy to live up to.

Intriguing? Absolutely, and Alison has also set Deadly Legacy in the near future — the year 2018. Here’s why she did this:

Why 2018? Why not the present? Or further into the future?

When I started researching police and private investigation practices, I knew the Carmedy and Garrett series couldn’t be set in the present. There were things I wanted to do that just wouldn’t jibe with the way things are. It was the consulting detective part. Sherlock Holmes notwithstanding, police don’t go to private investigators. The idea was dismissed with polite derision by cops I spoke to.

I could have set the story in a mythical past – the same past that Nero Wolf and Hercule Poirot occupy. Or I could set it in the future.

When I started Deadly Legacy in 1998, it was set further into the future. 2018 was twenty years away, not six. Back then I predicted that in two decades, we’d be using mobile phones as portable computers with continuous access to the internet. I figured that the handheld device would be the size of a pack of cards. We had smaller 3G Smart-phones in less than a decade. Maybe thinking less than a decade into the future wasn’t a bad idea.

But ideas and prejudices change more slowly than technology. The 1990s saw a lot of downsizing. Senior personnel would accept the golden handshake, then be hired back as consultants. What if the police services did the same thing? How would that work?

That’s the beauty of science fiction. The writer has a license to answer the “what if” questions. In Deadly Legacy I touch on several what-ifs such as, “What if affordable housing continues to be a major issue, will we see shantytowns in Canadian cities?”

I started writing science fiction when I was in my teens. More often than not, there would be a crime to solve in my sci-fi adventures. So it’s only fitting that there should now be some futurology in my mysteries.

* * *

A copywriter and an editor since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer. She currently manages publications for Crime Writers of Canada.

Visit Alison’s website at http://www.alisonbruce.ca and her blog, http://alisonebruce.blogspot.ca. Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/alisonebruce.

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About rosemarymccracken

Rosemary McCracken is a Toronto-based journalist and fiction writer.
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5 Responses to Even in the future, the past can kill you

  1. Looks lovely, Rosemary. Thanks for having me.

  2. I love the concept of the “Blueberry” (the dedicated police version of the Blackberry). But since the Blackberry is no longer the be-all and end-all, its probably good not to go too far into the future. Technology is changing too fast.

  3. Sharon Clare says:

    Very interesting premise in Deadly Legacy, Alison. I love those what-if questions. I decided I needed a paranormal world to make my what-ifs work. Isn’t it fun to exercise those creative muscles!

    • It really is, Sharon. I love world building — which is one of the things I loved about writing Deadly Legacy. I’ve sketched out maps of the City and keep notes of future projections so I can extrapolate from them. I’m as bad as Tolkien when it comes to notes.

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