In the same universe as the activist / terrorist group that uses playing cards for their names, I've got another question. I'm claiming that there's some form of regional interference which affects all forms of electronics. This is partly because I would prefer to keep the technology held back a bit so I don't have to make up a ton of futuristic equipment. It's also because I can see some neat visual tricks I can play using this.
Let me describe how I'm picturing this "interference" working. Mind you, I have no clue if any of this sounds plausible.
I'm saying that radios work fairly well, but have a fairly short range of clear reception. On days with heavy solar flare activity, the radios are quite static filled.
Television does have color, but the color is fairly primitive. I'm picturing something along the lines of mostly grey images with bright haloed blots of primary colors. (This means that the Card broadcasts could have the same bright primary colors you see on playing cards.) Much like the early days of color television or black and white television, people have to use special makeup and wear certain colors to look "good" on television.
Computers have color screens, but tend to be lunky thanks to the amount of insulation needed to protect the hardware. I'm saying that there is fairly wide access to computers or internet access throughout most of the city. Phones and internet access can be quite bad in some areas of the city thanks to older equipment, older lines, etc.
As for cybernetics, the technology is expensive, and prone to failure. The army has better doctors, smaller equipment, and more reliability in their stuff, but the average Joe on the street would not have great results. (This isn't that important to the story, since I only want to explain why one character who dislikes doctors would refuse cybernetics in any form.)
On a more subtle level, I'm saying that this interference can result in lower fertility among men and women. Obviously, locals who have lived in the area for centuries do not have problems, but outsiders would. This means that there is some xenophobia among upper class families due to the entire "But she / he probably can't give you children" sort of thing. This honestly won't affect the story in the slightest.
Does any of these consequences sound plausible? Can people think of other consequences that I'm not thinking of?
One reason for this interference could be that there is some sort of thinning of the atmosphere in the area resulting in a heavy bombardment of cosmic rays. This could be explained by heavy pollution in the area, but it would also mean that other large cities might also have this problem. I'm claiming that the city is in an area with hot dry summers and winters that usually have only sleet and a little snow. Some of that warmth could be from ocean currents etc., but I don't know if the type of weather in the city is consistent with an area in a world that might have a naturally thin atmosphere. Another problem with this theory is that I think the results of the interference is far greater then I'd expect from the cause.
Reason two could be that the sun near this world is unusually active, and therefore is causing more solar flares and from this is creating the interference. This would make the problem world wide, which would be nconvenient, but workable. Sadly, I don't think any of the characters in the story would understand or care about this enough to actually explain it in the text. Also, I'd be afraid that such an active sun might mean that it's a red giant or something like that, and that would bring up more problems. (It would be melodramatic to have an angry red sun in the sky, but it sounds too cliche to me.)
Reason three could be that there is some form of natural local geological feature that results in this interference. I'm picturing this city as being on the edge of an ocean with a mass of land on one side, and water on the other. Possible explanations could be an ominous mountain, strange rock formations under the mud of the city - etc. I like this explanation the best, but have no idea if it's plausible.
Does anyone have any ideas for plausible reasons? When it comes to non-scientific reasons, I am claiming that psychic abilities exist in this world, but purely on the level of "It could be explained as being something else." For example, one of the characters is a very charismatic man who can figure out things from people. This could be argued to be telepathy or empathy, but it could also just be argued that he's a handsome man with a glib tongue who reads people well. True "magic" does not exist. Thanks to the advanced technology, however, one could make up equipment (and claim, for example, that the generators used by group X might be making the problem worse.)