Themes in Lunatics
Although Rosalyn Hunter is credited as the “writer” on Lunatics and I am
credited as the “director”, the reality is a bit more muddled than that.
We are highly collaborative in our creative process, as you might
expect from a married team. I thought it might be interesting to
introduce some of the themes we’re working into the series.
Here’s the first:
“Bridging from Here to There”
Particularly striking in the pilot episode is the idea of going from present day
realities into the still science-fictional future of space pioneering.
This is a sticky subject, because there always seems to be a significant
gap along the way — there’s a gap in the imagination. We want to fill
it, partly because we think that if you can’t imagine something, you
probably can’t do it. And maybe that’s part of the reason we don’t have
space settlement already.
So, we purposely set Lunatics as close in the future as we possibly could
and still have the story be believable (we decided this was 2040, after earlier
dates strained our credulity). We imagined the circumstances of the world in
Lunatics as a direct outgrowth of the world of space politics, space advocacy, and
space technology that we know today. We set out to do it with
essentially no new technology. This is the colonization plan we could
start working on tomorrow — all we’ve done is left enough time for it
to be accomplished.
This kind of setting is hard for a science
fiction writer. Because not only do you have to know the science so that
you can come up with things that should work in principle, you have to
know specific technologies and hardware so that you can come up with
things that make sense as a natural outgrowth of present-day technology.
You have to actually create your story universe in an extrapolative way
— which is not done as often as you might imagine in science fiction.
Because it’s hard. This is almost a fusion between “science fiction” and
technologically-focused “true life” storytelling.