I read an article last month on the future of robotic prosthesis and was reminded of one of my favorite science fiction scenes.
The scene is found in the first chapter from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles book Cinder. Cinder is a cyborg in a futuristic world where cyborgs are not considered citizens. She works as a mechanic. She can fix anything, but since she isn’t a citizen and her step mother treats her like a servant, Cinder can’t afford to replace her robotic foot that doesn’t fit her teenage body anymore. Imagine Cinder, face smudged with grease after an exhausting day, taking off her prosthetic foot because it hurts, when the prince walks in. He has a robot for her to fix. Cinder’s emotions are running. She wants to help. He’s the prince for Heaven’s sake! But with her teetering on one leg and cyborg foot lying nearby, Cinder doesn’t want him to know she’s a cyborg.
This scene was memorable for a number of reasons, but to me it showed the power of using science or tech to create conflict, emotion, and connection with the reader.
Other science fiction stories have done the same. Orson Scott Card used three dimensional space battles in Ender’s Game, Josin L. McQuein used nanotechnology in Arclight, and Scott Westerfeld used biopunk airships in Leviathan. In all of these stories the technology was used like another character in the book, pulling the reader into strange, but interesting conflicts.
So, take a page out of Ms. Meyer’s cyborg world and use technology and science to create a memorable scene.