20 December 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 142 Extrapolating Military Technology, Armor Defense
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)
I'll give you some basics about armor and projectiles. The thinner the armor, the easier it is to penetrate. The more toward 90 degrees the projectile hits, the armor, the easier it is to penetrate. The faster and heavier the projectile, the easier to penetrate. 1/2mv^2 means that velocity of the projectile is much more important than mass. For mass, you also must compare the mass (or really inertial absorption) of the armor. Bronze armor is better than tin or copper. Iron is better than bronze. Steel is better than iron. Ceramic armor is better than steel. Kevlar is somewhat better than ceramic. Stacked ceramic is better than ceramic or Kevlar. What will the future bring? Composite is what Kevlar really is and there is a lot of possibility in composite and mixed metal composites. There is now experimentation in self repairing composites.
In my Ghost Ship novels (yet unpublished), I have composite armor space suits that are self repairing. They are military surplus suits with armor. Lots of reasons beyond warfare for having armor on spacesuits. A fast enough projectile will penetrate anything. You better have a self sealing spacesuit if you are going to fight in space. With armor, the material of the armor is very important mostly for weight, but also for maneuverability--both of a person in the armor and of an armored vehicle. Warfare is moving back to individual armor, and I don't think this is a simple result of guerrilla tactics. I envision Starship Troopers. Heinlein was a genius in this field.
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: