28 November 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 120 Extrapolating Military Technology, Advanced Weapons
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through 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 beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
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.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when 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 you want to send projectiles at a high velocity, you need a source of energy--and a powerful one at that. Gun cotton (chemical energy) is the favored means today for firing slugs. There are other possibilities. You could use electricity--those are the linear accelerators I mentioned before. You can use other forms of chemical energy. You can use plasma. In general, in science fiction , we imagine plasma rays, lasers, and other so-called advanced forms of weapons. It is likely that those will remain as large weapons and not individual weapons. To get to that level, you would either need a enormous battery or a mini-nuclear reactor. Asimov did predict a mini-reactor in his future, but few others have.
Linear accelerators likely have the greatest chance of moving into the near future. Their utility will be in space more than terrestrially. However, there are problems in space with almost all projectile weapons. Even laser beams put a force on their users. If you remember F=ma, you will realize that any slug projected by any force will cause the firer and the target a problem. The firer will go head over heels from the recoil (the force opposite) while the target will get the brunt of the projectile. The velocity of both will potentially be the same (based on F=ma and inertia). Like I wrote, the guy with the laser beam will have a similar problem because, although a laser beam has very little weight, it has a very high velocity. 1/2mv^2 will make the laser guys attack a serious problem for him. In solving the problem of force in zero-G, you have my best wishes. I posited a couple of solutions in my books, but most of the time, writers don't get it or ignore it. You really shouldn't ignore science in science fiction.
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.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: