>This is something that I feel is only ever really a problem with the
>"civilian" settings in UF. The military sci-fi bits of it never suffer
>from it at all; even the older parts of the canon, stuff written back
>in the early nineties, often holds up well now, twenty years later.
>But when you have people just tooling around on Earth or New Avalon or
>even Babylon 5... I dunno. It often seems like they're operating in a
>late-eighties technological and social mileau, just with starships and
>lasers and things bolted onto it.
>And New Avalon, in particular, just seems like it shouldn't be
>like that.... New Avalon is
>supposed to be this glittering jewel of modernity, and a lot of the
>time it doesn't seem like it.
Some of that is probably connected with the design ethos of New Avalon. While the technology underlying the buildings is state-of-the-art, there's no point in explaining how the stoves at the In-and-Out Burger actually run on nine volts of power while cooking a burger to perfection in thirty seconds. (Okay, that's a complete fabrication.)
The appearance of New Avalon, on the other hand, is all driven by a man who remembers the original World Wide Building, and so it more closely resembles a late-eighties world.
If anything, it's the reverse of what you think; it's a high-technology world with a veneer of late-eighties style, crafted by a man who has "both hands on the keyboard, one foot in the Swing Age." It's just that in writing the stories, Gryphon doesn't dwell on the technology, and so the appearance of being now-with-laser-guns comes in more strongly.
Insert humorous comment here.