What Will Humans Look Like In My Sci-Fi Story?

Ran across this article: “What Will Humans Look Like In 100,000 Years”,  thought I might share.  Artist Nikolay Lamm teamed with Dr. Alan Kwan, who has a PhD in Computational Genomics, to design a few images that speculate on how humans may look 100,000 years in the future (hence, the title).  While the pictures themselves resemble cartoons, I was more interested in the reasoning behind the slight feature changes Lamm made to each picture.

Traditional sci-fi stories try to envision the future or sometimes beings from other planets. When writing these types of stories, sometimes it seems like the physiology of future peoples never changes no matter how far into the future a writer might go and extraterrestrials look strange simply for the sake of looking strange.  

Whereas, in nature, the variation in physiology that you find across species always has a reason behind it, whether good or bad.  It’s the end result of millions of years of evolution, that sees the species acting on and being acted upon by it’s environment. 

So, when designing your sci-fi world, you should consider why a person or creature looks the way that it does.  Or even, speculate on the future yourself, and how innovations technological or otherwise may effect humans.  

For good examples of authors that have done this, check out Robert Heinlein’s entire body of sci-fi work (Starship Troopers, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land all speculate on the effects of adverse environments and technology on human physiology) or HG Wells The Time Machine.  Classics that any good sci-fi writer should’ve already read anyhow.

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