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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 148 Extrapolating Military Technology, Cost of Defense

26 December 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 148 Extrapolating Military Technology, Cost of 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

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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:
1.  Software
2.  Weapons
     Heavy Weapons
3.  Countermeasures
4.  Defense
5.  Communications
6.  Robots
7.  Vehicles
8.  Environments (personal equipment) 

We have seen that weapons can be used in offense and defense.  As a defense, they will be costly to operate.  Costly in terms of energy and money.  A part of offense and defense we can never forget is ammo and energy.  In the age of fusion, energy is free, but not necessarily easy.  The ultimate cost of stuff is never free.  For example, the cost of a 20mm shell during WWII was about $25.  The cost of a 20mm shell today is about $100.  The cost to fire a 1000 round burst (very easy to do today, simple in the future) is $100,000.  That's big money even for a major country.  War is costly for everyone.  In war, the value of anything must be converted directly.  So, it might be cost effective to destroy a $35M vehicle with a $100,000 burst.  It is not cost effective to use a $35M weapon to destroy a $1M vehicle.  Even it war, the cost of weapons, ammo, and fuel must be a primary consideration on the offense and the defense.

In most novels, the fighters seem to have unlimited weapons and unlimited ammo.  In real warfare this is never true.  The scarcity of every implement of war, repair items, equipment, ammo, weapons, vehicles, fuel, etc., etc., etc. is one of the basics of war.  In very few cases, does the attacker or the defender have everything they need.  A wise author will keep this in mind.  The turning point in battle is more likely to be the enemy running out of fuel or ammo than anything else.  If you don't believe me, you need to read some war studies from WWI, WWI, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, etc.  There is great value, as a writer in knowing your subject matter.

More tomorrow.

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, and my individual novel websites:

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