The Future was just something I invented for Final Contact, but it's an interesting enough place that I decided to expand on it and reuse it in other stories. The idea of a largely anarchistic universe full of sentient machines where there were few, if any, aliens but many human-descended groups that were more alien than the aliens grew more interesting the more I thought about it
The Future themselves are just one of those groups, and my parody of the pretentions of so-called 'post-scarcity' societies in science fiction. It just seemed like a good name for the story universe as a whole, and has kind of stuck.
Maintenance Bot M-3 had always been proud of the smooth and reliable operation of the starships it maintained. It lived for the desperate struggle against the forces of chaos and decay, fighting against time to repair the ship before disaster struck.
But, when faced with a dead planet, even it may be out of its depth.
Length: 15,000 words
Ever wondered where the aliens are? Bill is sure they don't exist, but after centuries searching the galaxy for any sign of intelligent life, I'm not about to give up yet.
I've just received this hot tip from a gang of Luddites out near M15. Hot enough that even Bill has chosen to join me for my final attempt to prove him wrong...
Length: 4,000 words
No-one expects to find alien life in NGC 2419. But when the first probes encounter a dirty, industrial planet somewhere no human is known to have been, the race is on to be the first to welcome its inhabitants into the galactic community. Will it be two poker-playing starships, or The Future, for whom pretension is a vocation, not just a way of life?
Length: 5,500 words