I've been reading "Borderlands of Science" to get some basic grounding for my SF novel, and have come up with some basic ideas how I want the history to go. I've decided I'm using hyper-space corridors - that is, you can't go everywhere with them, but there are specific "lines" typically between gravity wells. I've figured out what techno-babble to use to refer to non-hyperspace travel ... and that I can use a slower-than-light vehicle to get around the interior of a solar system.
I'm primarily defining my technology by what it can't do, and running into some snags with things I just can't plausibly say are impossible. The big one is cloning. My history is inching up on a reason why it might be banned for moral reasons, but I need to ask a "techie" I know whether the form of quantum teleportation I'm pondering is even possible.
I've also figured out how psionics got into the culture and why they're fairly well accepted.
I haven't written much of this down yet because I want to finish my reading. Any of this might change if I encounter a scientific / social point in another book.