Do you remember watching those early SCI/FI TV shows where a boxy robot would tap it’s bulky metal hand on a Lite Brite? Then the ship would move or a door would open into another dimension. Now do you remember Star Trek the Next Generation? Captain Picard had a tablet that foreshadowed the iPad. Mmmm. Captain Picard. Anyway. What’s my point? If you’re going to make technology a major part of your story, it needs to be right and it needs to be plausible.
If you’re writing Science Fiction or a thriller about computer security specialists trying to stop cyber attacks, Technology almost has to become one of your characters. I’ll use Maialen Tate, a bio-integrator from my Urban Fantasy series The Mutant Casebook as an example. Maialen is an empath with technological implants in her body. These implants allow her to bond with technology and manipulate it. I used my familiarity with Information Technology to really bring Maialen to life. I also made her plausible by using existing technology and exploring it’s as of yet undiscovered potential.
I started off as a computer programmer and used to earn a living writing code in seven different programming languages. I’ve designed database systems and…wait. Are you still awake? Why am I giving you my resume? I’m trying to illustrate a point. I no longer write code or design software systems for a living. My computer skills are obsolete and so are most computer books you purchase to do research. Or at least they will be in about a year. If you are going to make your technology credible, it’s best to talk with an expert. Most techies will help you out for a Red Bull and free food (You know I love ya, my Techie brethren!). I won’t guarantee that you will understand every word they say. It might pay to have someone who speaks Techie and can translate for you like a Business Analyst or IT Project Manager. You’ve probably run into these folks as they trawl the break room for chocolate and ibuprofen.
A final thought. If you are writing a Science Fiction Novel about Androids and cyber worlds, but you can’t find the “Any Key” on your laptop, maybe reconsider leaning heavily on technology in your novel. If possible, allude to it rather than focus on the technical details. Let readers enjoy the story without getting hung up on the potential mistakes in your research.