…The Setting

It is shortly after sundown. The sky is a fading blue, the silhouettes of trees, a shed and a garden fence framing a patch of darkening sky. In a metal firepit at the centre of the frame, tall yellow flames rise from square blocks of wood, spilling orange light into the image.
Stay a while, won’t you?

Under the blanket of night the fire crackles and dances, the flames manic.

Across the firepit, the storyteller folds her hands together in her lap and smiles. In the firelight, her eyes flash.

“The future isn’t here yet,” she says. “But don’t worry. It will be.”

Beacons In The Dark is a future history — a future, not the future — which charts a vision of the next 1,630 years. It features artwork, vignettes and worldbuilding posts about this future’s politics, technology and culture, with an eye towards short-form storytelling on this site, and the potential for long-form storytelling elsewhere.

This future is grounded in realistic speculation about politics, economics, the hard sciences and transhumanism. And although I hold that on balance, humanity and the future contain more good than bad, this future isn’t a utopia. Human nature isn’t a simple bias or error which can be corrected for — and while there might be ways to address its flaws and failings, there’s no guarantee that what comes out of this process will be substantively better than Human 1.0 — only that it will be different.

Some people have criticised this setting as being bleak in places, and that is their right. To some people, certainly parts of the next century which I have explored and examined will seem intolerable. Climate change, political instability and ecological collapse are all terrors of the modern age, and I don’t intend to shy away from these realities. But each of these also presents opportunities, and lots of them. A better world is possible, if you can imagine it. It’s hope against a dark background.

There’s a reason I called this site Beacons In The Dark, after all.

…The Author

A young white transgender woman with curly, shoulder-length brown hair smiles into the camera. She's wearing a small amount of eye makeup, a long blue coat and a mustard yellow jumper underneath. On the left lapel of the coat is a metal pin styled after the Progress Pride Flag. She appears to be in a kitchen. The pain in her eyes suggests she is British.
Lilly Harper, February 3rd, 2022.

I am Lilly Harper.

I’ve been an avid reader and writer of science fiction for as long as I can remember, and have been producing 3D artwork for nearly four years. You may have seen some of my commissioned work on my friend Isilanka’s site, Starmoth. If you’d like to commission me, please do so by using the contact form on this site, so that we can discuss my rates and your vision.

I am unfortunate enough to live in the UK, presumably because I committed some grave evil in a past life. I have a background in Political Science and Philosophy, an A Level in Theatre Studies, and a long history of getting into pointless arguments on the internet. My political views are firmly left wing, and are primarily informed by socialist, anarchist and queer perspectives. I would probably consider myself some flavour of transhumanist, but only because I recognise that technology is advancing in ways which will change the human experience — I’m actually quite conflicted in a lot of my thoughts on transhumanism.

I’m also a transgender woman.

You’re just going to have to find a way to live with that, or, failing that, perish instead. Nothing of value will be lost.

The meek can inherit the Earth for all I care.

It’s up to the rest of us to inherit the stars.