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Literature / Future History

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Future History is a space opera novella by Aaron Wall, published in February of 2014. It follows the adventures of Amelia Hanson, a starship engineer who begins experiencing memories from her own future, starting with her death. Together with her friends, she must find out what is happening and how to respond in order to save her future self, and the human race, from war with an inscrutable alien foe.

Future History is the first published work of its author, who wrote it in more or less its current form while still in high school. It is available only on the Kindle ebook store right now, but can be read on a PC using a free emulator program from Amazon.

Future History contains examples of:

  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Big Bad are a race of aliens called the Algolans.
  • Artificial Gravity: Played straight. While the technology is never directly mentioned or discussed, many points of the story rely on it always working.
    • At one point Amelia is trapped on a damaged elevator and remarks that it's a good thing the emergency breaks will work even if the power and life support fail, preventing it from entering freefall: which implies the artificial gravity would still work even then.
    • When it is critically damaged by enemy fire, deck 12 of the Capella collapses inward rather than breaking apart, possibly implying that the ship's artifical gravity caused the upper decks to fall through it.
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  • The Captain: Take your pick: Captain Robert Johnson, Captain Doyle, Captain Ashton.
  • Cool Starship: Pretty much every ship in the setting.
  • Deflector Shields: Standard issue for every Cool Starship, but Amelia gets to play with them up close and personal twice.
  • The Engineer: Amelia is one.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: In practically every battle in this setting. Of particular note is ambush of the Capella where a chain reaction of exploding control panels kills two of Amelia's friends and nearly kills her as well.
  • The Hero Dies: At the very beginning. This doesn't hamper her much though, as she only remembers her death, which occurs five years in the future from the narrative's perspective. She does spend a fair bit of time trying to get around it though.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Mildly so. It seems to be perfectly safe most of the time, but Amelia informs one ignorant crewman that the FTL drive cannot safely be used to escape a firefight, since enemy weapon fire would collapse a ship's wormhole, squishing them "like bugs."
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  • Invisibility Cloak: Amelia invents an improvised cloaking device to save the Mizar from alien attack. This becomes a major plot point later when it is revealed that the reason behind her future memories is the survivors of Mizar and Admiral Petty trying to figure out how to duplicate her cloaking device.
  • MacGyvering: Most of Amelia's tricks involve this to some level. For example, using a polishing rag to interrupt a circuit or feeding the Aritificial Singularity Generator into the deflector shields to make a working cloaking device on the fly.
  • Mental Time Travel: Amelia experiences regular bouts of this throughout the story, though instead of traveling into the past with future memories, the future memories are coming to her. * Our Wormholes are Different: The ASG (Artificial Singularity Generator) array, which can make various sized wormholes: small ones for FTL sensors, and big ones for FTL travel.
  • Planet Terra: The Standard-Goodguy-SciFi-Government is called the Terran Confederation.
  • Reverse Polarity: Amelia inverts the frequency of Mizar's deflectorsduring a firefight. It throws the enemy cruisers' weapon fire right back at them, but only because they knew the exact frequency the enemy was using.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof-Memory: Even though having memories from her own future should necessarily change her future, it doesn't.
    • Justified in that her receipt of said memories is erased from the timeline in the end.
  • Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!: Amelia's attitude toward safety regulations.
  • Space is Noisy: Partially subverted, in that nebulas are said to be the only places where it's possible to hear sound in space.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Played straight, with numerous subtropes, including:
    • Space Clouds: One chapter has the ship visiting a supernova remnant, where a friendly cruiser is hidden. They are ambushed by several enemy cruisers hiding in the clouds.
    • Space Friction: Implied by the way starships are seen to maneuver, and also by the fact that ships stop dead when their engines are taken out.
    • Space Navy: All personnel use psuedo-standard naval ranks.
    • Standard SciFi Fleet: The setting offers two warring examples, one owned by the humans and one by the aliens. Doyle even explains the various roles of cruisers vs battleships at length.
  • The Spark of Genius: Other characters frequently refer to this to explain Amelia's success.
  • Supporting Leader: Captain Robert Johnson, in the future.
    • Arguably Captain Doyle as well though he becomes a minor antagonist in the end by opposing Amelia's time travel fix.
  • Techno Babble: Given who Amelia is, readers should expect plenty of this.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: "More power!" is a frequent order, but it seems to have its limits. Even the one time it does work, allowing the Capella to temporarily outrun enemy cruisers, it's attributed to superior design, not raw voltage.
  • Wrench Wench: Amelia Hanson. Even as a chief engineer she still crawls around the bowels of the ship fixing things in the heat of battle.

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