Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How Did We Survive the 1980s?

I just finished writing a short story that had to be set, for various reasons, in the early 1980s.  And I could feel my characters' pain.  How does one character find out about another one when there's no internet??  I couldn't have anyone type into a computer, call each other on cellphones, or look up facts on Wikipedia.

It makes life a lot more inconvenient, and the story much harder to write.  I might as well have set it in the Middle Ages.  Of course, I was very much alive back in the '80s and blithely unaware of all of the constraints under which I was living my life. Ignorance really is bliss.

6 comments:

Dave Caudel said...

Ah, back in the days when you had to ask around about what people know about such-and-such.

Peter Denton said...

Where can one read such a story?

Robert Scherrer said...

It's not quite finished yet, and I haven't decided yet where to send it. Most of my stories have been published in Analog, but this one is a bit stylistically unusual, so I might send it somewhere else. I've posted a few of my stories from previous years to this blog - you can find them if you scroll backwards through the older posts.

Kathy said...

Your 80s characters may as well wonder about similar things when comparing their lives to life in the 1940s.

Robert Scherrer said...

I imagine the advent of cell phones had a bigger effect on murder mysteries/crime fiction. The bad guys could no longer "cut the phone lines" to prevent people from phoning the police.

Kathy said...

And portable cell phone jammers aren't much good against WiFi. Also caller ID made it unnecessary to trace a call ("keep him talking!!").

I'm still struck by a scene in Asimov's "The Caves of Steel," where the detective, Baley, has to leave his temporary, low-rated apartment to find a phone to call his wife.