Technology changes fast these days. In fact, it changes so fast that a device in my science fiction graphic novel, Earthling! went from sci-fi to commonplace between the time I wrote the first draft and the books release.
I wrote a first draft of what would become Earthling! in about 2004. Back then it was called. Bud and Gort, and I was thinking of making it into an animated short film. As the story developed I created a handheld computer that all the kids on Cosmos Academy would have. It took the place of textbooks, provided email and video calls, has a voice recognition system that can go a little wonky, has class schedules and can, of course, be hacked by industrious, inquisitive kids. I called it the Blip.
It came about when I wrote a scene with the students at their lockers and I started thinking, would they really have lockers? If this is a culture so advanced that they can harness the power of a black hole, they wouldn’t be carrying books to classes. They’d have portable computers…right?
Well, the Blip is just another in a long line of sci-fi handheld computer devices. From Star Trek to Philip K. Dick, science fiction stories are full of handheld, powerful, touch controlled, easy to use computers. But I never guessed that between my first draft in 2004 and 2012 when Earthling! comes out, that students would actually be carrying handheld, powerful, touch controlled, easy to use computers instead of text books.
The real world caught up with my science fiction gadget. The only thing the Blip has on an iPad or iPhone is that it folds down. But I’m sure that’s the next thing coming from the labs of Apple Inc.