I am not actually a sci-fi fan. I like Star Wars and like space horror movies, but these just use space as a setting and don’t concern themselves at all with technological progress and its impacts on society.
But a few months back I had been thinking again about how one could make good science fiction stories that are accurate to physics, and played around with various ideas regarding spaceship construction, space stations, space industry, and the implications of post-scarcity societies developing from access to efficient fusion power. I think most futurists are thinking way too fantastical and simply want their jetpacks and Mars colonies, willingly ignoring economy, sociology, and even physics to get there. Looking at what might actually happen is much more interesting to me.
I also have been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for the fourth or fifth time over the last half year, and there were a couple of episodes in the later seasons that seemed really out of place for Star Trek, but still felt quite intriguing to me. One of them has a character visiting her family who owns a big mining company on a lawless border world and are having trouble with the local organized crime. It also is connected to an undercover investigation into organized crime episode from one season earlier. This really doesn’t feel like Star Trek at all, and it was just a 45 minute oneshot with mostly single appearance characters thst were not very well developed. But it had me thinking that I would love to see a whole show just about this family business.
I was talking about this with someone and how it had me thinking about the aesthetics of Blade Runner, and he reminded me of the movie Outland. It’s a pretty obscure movie and has been almost entirely forgotten, but I’ve seen it twice over the years and it’s actually pretty good. It has Sean Connery as security chief on an industrial space station investigating a series of suicides by miners who were drugged up to their eyes and corruption in the administration.
Even though it’s set on a space station, it has the same very low-tech style of Alien. I’m a sucker not just for 80s fantasy art but for the sci-fi aesthetics of the time as well, and this is exactly the kind of imagery I had in my mind from the start. Like the two Star Trek episodes, both of these movies are really Noir stories. And I also really love Noir. Many Sword & Sorcery stories are fantasy noir stories, and cyberpunk is sci-fi noir. I love this stuff.
Right now I really need to get my Sword & Sorcery ideas getting worked on. But one day in the future, I might come back to this and give it a try. I think it’s a really cool idea.
Another thing that came to my mind recently was that in space industry, food supplies would be a major factor that usually gets ignored by most sci-fi. And I just happen to be studying to become an agricultural engineer, with a strong current interest in industrial in-door growing facilities. Maybe instead of mining, my family business should work in vegetables for deep space colonies instead of mining. I actually know a lot more about this stuff and it might make the setting feel more fresh. (Pun absolutely intended.)