Ephemera of the Future

When writing science-fiction – aside from the grandiose themes of plot, concept, and character – one occasionally has to portray the mundane aspects of life in the land of the speculative.

Inclusion of day-to-day ephemera can lend a touch of realism, a sensawunda (like when Hari Seldon takesweb_2.0 out a pocket computer in Foundation – an idea that would have seemed fantastical in the 1950s), or even humour to a storyline.

However the devil is in the details. Part of the joy of science fiction is the way grand concepts like the Singularity manifest themselves in mundane, day-to-day things. This can also make the writing a little trickier.

For example the contents of business cards, ripe fare for design students are shortly to be revolutionised by the continuing liberalisation of the domain name system by Icaan, the Internet corporation for assigned names and numbers:

Individuals will be able to register a domain based on their own name, or any other string of letters, as long as they can show a “business plan and technical capacity”.

If this works out it will (presumably) mean that there will now be thousands of new top-level domain names. The projected cost of registering a domain name is quoted at “…at least several thousand dollars…” but I’m sure there are plenty of individuals, organisations and companies that would love to acquire their own patch of web-real-estate equivalent to .co.uk or .eu.

It is a tiny item, but it shows how much the world has changed, and how difficult it is to predict where change will come from.

[story from BBC News][image by jonas therkildson]