The Greywater Chronicles are in the future. It’s true. But also not particularly overt. In fact, you could easily read the books as taking place in the 1990s as much as the 2040s. The first three books are focused on love and friendship, and the time period of the books is a (delightful) surprise for anyone who is paying attention.
But if you are paying attention, there are some interesting things going on.
- Things that are different in the future aren’t really remarked upon by the characters. The future is usually more boring and less exciting that we suspect.
- The cars drive themselves. We still have taxi drivers since we’re not allowed to have self-driving cars without human oversight.
- Global warming is real; greywater plumbing and energy efficiency are all the more critical.
- Portland became uncool, cool, and uncool again. In the mid-2040s, Portland is considered a bit provincial and not a hip place to live.
- The earthquake has not yet hit. This might change in a future book.
- We have mobiles and computers, but there is no discussion of what these look like and how we interact with them. For my characters, the technology is unremarkable and unremarked upon. Some technology is seamless, with more devices referred to with a simple noun rather than any fancy new language.
- Old and young live together. The baby boomer generation is dying off, leaving us with a surplus of housing built for the old. At the Misty Forests Recovery and Adult Living Center, the longer-term residents are mostly older, but this is likely to continue to shift to a more balanced demographic.
- Portland has figured out how to deal with mental health crises with MenPros (Mental Health Professionals). Yay!
- The United States has not solved debt for higher education. Boo!
- People are still silly.