Here's a little writing question/thought I have about how we write about the future in science fiction.

I tend to write SF that's set in the semi-distant future. Because a lot of the conceptual work that I'm playing with is about history, I think playing with what "might" happen and having 3000 or so years of history already around to play with is helpful.

At the core my question is about having different projects, take different opinions of the future. So for instance:

The novella I'm working on is set in the second half of the 26th century. I actually think that in terms of "development" it's a lot like what people in the 1950s and 1960s thought that the (late) 21st would be like. There's a little bit of colonization of the solar system, but not much. There's radio lag that characters have to fight, no fast way to transverse space, but the government(s) on earth have gone through a lot of changes. It's not star trek-ey at all.

The novel that I'm planning out at the moment is set in three time periods between about 2350 and the mid 28th century. It's more space opera-ey, but no FTL, and I haven't gotten into any post-human stuff in either story. There's been more colonization in the solar system, in this one, and my conjecture here is that Earth is much more abandoned, and much less important, even if there are pockets of population/civilization.

I mean there are similarities, but I put up to one another, they're contradictory, in some fundamental ways. Does this make me a hack? I mean clearly I am, but should I avoid setting up contradictory worlds in unconnected works? Your thoughts are much appreciated.

(I'm also cross posting this to my SF-Writing list. Sorry if you're getting it double.)