Use tomorrow to your advantage
Speculative fiction is a huge umbrella term in literature encompassing science fiction, alternate history, fantasy, horror, and more. Most commonly, speculative fiction is associated with science fiction. Good science fiction is fiction that embraces the fantastic without losing the roots of reality.
When writing your science fiction (or any of the myriad branches of speculative fiction,) a good point to keep in mind is, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the importance of a realistic, breathing world. This is not to say that everything needs to be set in reality or on Earth or be something that everyone can relate to. As long as the reality you build is believable on its base level, it will work. A great way to ensure a believable world is to take elements from our own world and apply the ideas and principles. Science is usually a great place to start. A lot of science fiction relies on principles that people at least vaguely have heard of before. Cloning, terraforming distant worlds, the advancement of technology, computerized communication and entertainment, and of course various ethical issues raised by certain scientific issues. A good author will use his or her knowledge of what is going on in the world to craft a story set in the near future, based on stories that are developing now.
Want to make your story futuristic? Consider these subjects, ripped from the headlines of today: Ethical concerns of cloning. The advancement of telecommunications and entertainment technology. The implications of social networking media on privacy and public perception of private lives. Space exploration. Gaming. Biotechnology. Architecture. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe. Any one (or more than one) of a million other subjects!
Writing speculative fiction isn’t about being a slave to what is; writing speculative fiction is about opening your mind and the minds of your readers to the potentials of what could be given what is now.