This post is divided into three time points and various links to other posts to prevent one massively overbearing mega-post. It exists as an online reference for both me and anyone who’s curious. Yes, I do let other people use my settings (read that bit on the extras page if you want details). Here goes:
Time point one:
A rough approximation of our modern day. If you want to get specific (to reference particular technologies, for example) think around ~2015.
Time point two:
~50 years after time point one. The world has reached what most consider a definite peace after WW3. I’m going to look back on this and laugh in 2065, aren’t I? Well, that’s part of the advantage of sci-fi: I get to lay out one potential timeline, not necessarily what I expect to actually happen. I can play up certain extreme conditions to play with particular concepts, like the bickering government and chosen one mythos, rather than trying to be as realistic as possible. To clarify: I tried to keep certain concepts realistic, such as the literal technologies characters encounter. I set up the specifics for this time point back in 2015 when I was writing Victim while at college. At the time, I wrote it as a day after tomorrow type sci-fi setting, then later inserted it into The Balance of Souls as time point two. A day after tomorrow type sci-fi just means a setting roughly fifty years in the future where all the technologies are based off of what I could imagine us creating from modern day technologies. So, it fits very well here.
By this time point, technology has advanced far enough to cover the means of production. Essentially, humans for the most part no longer need to work. To clarify: forced labor is still seen as a way of convict reform. There are still humans elected to the top positions of government, but they bicker for almost laughably absurd proportions of their days, to the point that infrastructure improvements, public mental hygiene programs, and other programs someone decided a human should sign off on (to prevent negligence and apathy, supposedly) are either grossly neglected or randomly excessively extravagant. For example, there exists a park with silver orbs for a waterfall, an artificial purple sky, and blue grass. However, the crumbling parking lot outside is riddled with weeds and potholes. The majority of the populace considers their government a running joke, and is actually grateful to give technology more power over their lives. For more details, see the link above pertaining to the politics and economy of time point two.
The younger generation, including Mica and Rina in Victim, are the first in too long to grow up in peace. They see their parents’ generation still dealing with the aftermath of war and adjusting from a hyper-capitalist system to a non-capitalist system (again, see the link above for specifics). But the younger generation has grown up with a reliance on technology to the point that most of them are less suspicious of it. There are exceptions, of course, including Rina and various proud individualists. Overall, though, they do accept the premise that technology improves their lives. They enjoy a profound freedom to navigate their world.
However, this is not a perfect system. For example, violence is still considered an issue. Their government has put multiple safety measures in place, such as confiscating illegal weaponry and requiring new safety measures (including fingerprint scanners and more detailed background checks). Media has been banned from publishing certain details about killings, such as the suspect’s name and allegiance (yes, terrorism still exists, just to a lesser extent). Mass shootings are essentially unheard of by now, and progress has been made to dramatically curb all forms of violence. But the populace still faces a murder rate of roughly 800-1200 per year worldwide for a population of ~10 billion. For reference, the best estimate I seem to be able to find for the worldwide homicide rate in 2012 was 6.2 per 100,000, so the problem is dramatically lessened. Other issues, such as addiction and domestic abuse, are still present but all to a much lesser degree than our modern day (think a similar shift as the homicide rate). However, fearmongering is still strong and this supposedly more humane system has yet to resolve all issues. The Victim Remembrance movement has been especially loud in mourning the departed, and in creating a large cultural influence. For more details, see the link above. To clarify: discrimination has been virtually eliminated by name in favor of the more humane system, but instances of bias do still occur on occasion, mostly pertaining to criminal record, former allegiance, and involvement in WW3.
Time point three:
~150 years after time point one and ~100 years after time point two (think around ~2165). The Pyrrh have taken over. What’s left of humanity has been driven into shelters. The military police and shelter leaders (usually voted on by the residents, but not always) are what’s left of human authority. Inner zones exist for agriculture, production of resources not provided by functioning technologies, safer travel between shelters, and as a buffer to defend the shelters. The military police maintain order and defense around the inner zones. At this point, open conflict is rare even around the inner zones. However, anyone in the outer zones is on their own, and almost definitely will encounter Pyrrh. For more details on shelters, vouchers, and zones, see the link above to the language of time point three. That link also includes a list of established shelters.
The chosen one mythos has had tremendous cultural influence (mostly because this author wants to play with this concept). Shelter leaders have greatly exploited the concept to the point that it has seeped into the culture itself. Here’s a paragraph on this from Into the Unknown:
“Why does he even bother with that ‘chosen one’ anyway? We all know this world is doomed! He must be desperate enough to hold onto that false hope, that idoltry. I can’t stand when people do that! He should be devoting that energy to his own cause!” Aiden’s movements were getting even more obnoxious, ranting now about one of his favorite topics: the falsity of the chosen one. The chosen one is based in myth and faith: so many religions, myths, and legends involve someone coming back in humanity’s time of need. Even the legend of King Arthur tells of him coming back to save Britain. People have turned that into a prophecy: the chosen one will come and save us! We have to prepare for the chosen one! Well, this was certainly a time of need for the world. Whichever ‘chosen one’ has yet to come back, and Aiden at least thinks they never will.”
Most of the younger generation enjoy a relative freedom in the shelters and inner zones since their parents are the ones who faced the Pyrrh. There is an innate desire for self-expression. This i greatly limited by the environment, and can manifest in ways that are not ideal. For example, someone might try to dye hair with powdered food from the food replicators. The clothing that has survived is often very faded and heavily repaired.
There is a lot of fear in time travel (and, yes, shelter leaders will exploit that fear to prevent people from leaving). For more details on time travel in this setting, see that link above.