Before I left, she made me promise one thing: Don't make the villain a dentist. They get a bad rap as it is in media. And she's right. One of my favorite songs from Little Shop of Horrors is You'll be a Dentist.
But I digress.
I assured her that no dentists were slandered in the writing of my book. But I do actually mention them. I needed to think of a profession that will still be around in 200 years (where most of the book is set), and, hey, people will still have teeth.
"But I don't know that they'll need dentists," she said.
It turns out that researchers are developing a cavity vaccine. AND they're working on GROWING NEW TEETH.
Elizabeth Spann Craig has a great post about the perils of dating your book. But I've run into the opposite problem. How do you decide what will be around in 200 years if you aren't sure what will make the cut in 10 years? In 2? It's hard to imagine up some technical marvel that isn't probably brewing away in Apple Labs as we speak.
I had two rules of thumb:
1.) If it's been around for at least 200 years, it will probably be here in another 200 years. (With exceptions, of course, if technology already seems to be headed in a different direction.)
2.) Extrapolate, but consider where humanity might draw the line. (Especially where there are already rumblings.)
Okay, and a third rule:
3.) Have fun with it. I loved dreaming some crazy stuff up, but at the end of the day...or the millenium...people are people. It's the characters that drive the story, not the gadgets. (Although, there are a few gadgets I came up with that I want NOW.)
Oh, and go hug a dentist.