31 December 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 153 Extrapolating Military Technology, Laser 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)
Communications can be jammed and intercepted--extrapolating military communication technology is all about means to prevent jamming and interception as well as methods to gain clear and unambiguous communications. One method of communications that has been proven in the lab and may be in use in the field is directed laser communications. A laser directed at a sensor can't be easily jammed or intercepted. If intercepted, you know it was intercepted because it will be cut off. Directed laser has some problems due to line of sight and direction. Line of sight is a common problem for all communications in most frequencies. For lasers, line of sight and direction can be solved easily with satellites and laser to radio translators. Direction is a problem because the laser must point at the right location for the transmission to be received. A converter in a satellite or on the battlefield would allow laser communications from the front line units to command and control (within line of sight) that could be retransmitted as required. With a satellite, you almost always have line of sight (if you can see the satellite), this means constant communications.
Laser based communications can be jammed with aerosols or laser chaff. They also don't work well in poor visibility (clouds or fog). This can be partially overcome by using lasers in different frequency ranges.
Interception of laser communications is difficult because the lasers are not visible. You can make a laser detector, but the laser has to shine on the detector. If you do intercept the laser signal, the sender and receiver know immediately the message was intercepted. Interception ain't easy, but it is possible.
There are many uses for laser and laser type communications--I'll get to those next.
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: