22 February 2014, Writing Ideas – Writing Science Fiction, part 121 Extrapolating Military Technology, more Advanced Weapons
Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel, and on this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel–start with https://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way. At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.
Here are my four rules (plus one) of writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I am writing about the extrapolation of science and technology to be able to write science fiction. I made the point that it is almost meaningless to try to fully extrapolate a universe (world) that is 10,000 years in the future (and maybe 1,000 years in the future) without applying some cultural and technological shaping.
By shaping the cultures of your science fiction universe, you can shape the science and technology that is extrapolated. Here is how I culturally shaped the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox to make the 10,000 year extrapolation work.
The major areas in warfare technology are:
8. Environments (personal equipment)
If your society is at a technological point where it can field small linear accelerators, small laser weapons, or small plasma weapons, it has arrived at power and/or battery nirvana. Now, once you have fusion, you are kind of at power nirvana, but until your batteries catch up, you won’t be doing much independently from your power source–kind of like Evangelion (the big mecha that could and couldn’t). There are other ways to make power, but you may or may not like them. Some very bright science fiction authors have put these together in their novels. Chemical interactions can make electricity or other power. We typically think of gun cotton (powder) as the only means, but there are other ways to get the power you need. The airborne laser used chemical energy to produce a high powered laser beam. This is a great example of chemicals in producing an advanced and powerful weapon. The problem was that the power and the laser were not really enough to directly destroy anything. I won’t go into how it works, but let’s just say it wasn’t as awe inspiring as you might imagine, but it works.
One great extrapolation would be a laser that uses chemical cartridges like a modern firearm. I haven’t seen this before in a novel. The good thing about a laser is that it is only slightly affected by gravity and the velocity of the beam is light. Also, although visibility (clouds, dust, etc.) affect the beam, other stuff won’t (like winds, coriolis etc.). I should put this type of weapon in my next novel. I usually use linear accelerators in space and regular gun cotton type weapons, for gravity. There are other possibilities and I think I’ve put them in my novels.
Also remember, I’m trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
A note from one of my readers: Speaking of which, I am awaiting for you to write a detailed installment on identifying, and targeting your audience, or audiences…ie, multi-layered story, for various audiences…like CS Lewis did. Just a thought.
I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.