I realized a couple of days ago one reason I'm having trouble picking up the thread of my writing, particularly about the Newer York setting I've been thinking about for over a decade and starting to build here. I have, in fact, painted myself into an odd corner.
While it's not all and everything I've written in set in that universe, a huge chunk of words (the half-novel yet unfinished and the three parts of what should ultimately be a four part mystery story posted here) are mysteries structured as police procedurals set in a future space community.
The problem is, they're predicated upon an idea of, and ideal of, policing that is deeply misleading. While they take into account my ideas for how law would work in such a community, they're ultimately based on modern, Earthbound stories of similar nature (e.g. Law & Order) in which the cops are the good guys, actually dedicated to preventing and solving crime more than they are to controlling a population.
But, as we are seeing demonstrated time and again right now, that is not what actual, modern policing has been about for a long time. It's mostly about control.
On the one hand, I DON'T want to appear to be whitewashing that narrative, as I now feel a lot of modern "cop fiction" does. On the other hand, I'm also definitely not interested in writing about a future that's just as bad. If I'm going to write stories with a police force in them of any kind, I want them to reflect what law enforcement should be, not what it currently is.
I'm debating doing some brainstorming around the idea of a completely different model—one which honestly may or may not work in the "real world"—to lean into the fact that this is an aspirational future I'm writing and not just a perpetuation of "now". If so, that would require some heavy revision of what's already written, but I'm perfectly OK with that.
So, stick with me, friends. I haven't given up on any of this. I just find myself needing to catch up, both in my writing and in my thinking, with some really fast paced current events!