I’ve set the books in the present and near future because, while there are plenty of stories set out in the galaxy or galaxies that future is centuries away — if ever. How we get to that universe wandering future is lightly skipped over, and with good reason. It doesn’t look as if we are ever going to get off this planet (yes, I know the Chinese are planning a Moon base soon and probably the Russians too). And I wish those folks good fortune but I want our people to be there with them, not watching enviously from the safety of our basements and bedrooms. People need to achieve and space and the bottom of the ocean are the last two places we can really do that.
Why the sea? Whoever can make the depths of the ocean home, has a whole new world to live in. One where we can live with the world, and not against it, right from the start. And living ‘with the undersea world’ can happen because down there we are out of our element. We would live enclosed, separated lives so we won’t be able to interact badly with the environment as we do on land.
I may be hoping too much here, like H.G. Wells and his ‘league of airmen’ he thought might be able to keep world peace because they controlled the air. Wells’ hopes were cruelly dashed when air power was used to rain down bombs on cities around the world in the service of old-fashioned power struggles but I’m hopeful my imagining will not be so easily dashed. The deep-sea world is an unforgiving one and that alone should keep humans honest. It might. We’ll see how the story develops in The Modest Institute series, if not in real life.