Speculative Fiction: It’s Really All About Relationships

Lately I’ve been pulled into some speculative fiction of the film variety. It seems I can’t go too long without a fix of science fiction from the psychological, non-alien end of the spectrum. 

First up was Jac Schaeffer’s TiMER. What if we’re destined to be with someone? We just have to get an implant and see how long it’s going to be. But, what if our timer doesn’t count down? Is it time to take matters into our own hands? Oh, and it’s funny, too.


This might fall more in the paranormal camp, but I really liked Joss Whedon’s In Your Eyes.  
Someone else can feel your deepest hurts, both physical and emotional. But if you tap into it, they can also see it.


Hey, but what if extreme opposites changed the brain chemistry that pushed them apart? Could they be together? Then the government spoils things and assumes the technology is for ill. That’s Darren Paul Fisher’s Frequencies (OXV, The Manual).


What all three of these movies have at their core is a relationship. I can imagine one or more of these writers saying, “What I was trying to do most of all is write a story about a guy and a girl.” Sort of like what Joe Weisberg said about his fabulous series The Americans  being about a marriage more than espionage.  

On the literary front these reminded me of Ninni Holmqvist’s book The Unit.  Single people – especially those with jobs that don’t contribute to society – are encouraged to leave their lives and join The Unit. It’s a model community with a great lifestyle that also processes you through organ donation to benefit those outside that society values more. Dorrit goes in willingly, but of course it doesn’t stay that way forever because of relationships.

And, of course, relationships are at the heart of motivation and motivation is the heart of story.