27 December 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 149 Extrapolating Military Technology, Communications
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)
We looked a little at communications before. Let's look at extrapolating military communications. The purpose of civil communications is communication. The purpose of military communications is command and control. These are not exclusive, but they are different. A simple communication set is acceptable in a military environment where it would not be in a civil environment. For example, in directing a formation of aircraft, the warning of a turn while in formation in weather it is sufficient to indicate "ready to turn, left" then "turn, left." The response from each follower would be "roger." There is no need for any more communication--that is sufficient for command and control. This is not sufficient for civil operations--unless they are engaged in military type operations.
Communications begin with signals and increase in complexity and distance. The telegraph is a great example of simple with increasing distance. The invention of the telephone increased the complexity (to speech) and the distance to the wire (same as telegraph). With wireless (radio, audible, visual) communication, it started with visual range (flags, smoke, lights) and audible range (yell, megaphone, whistle, etc.) and moved to line of sight radio (UHF, VHF, FM) to world wide (HF, satcom). For military communications, the most important part of the communication is clarity.
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: