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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 154 Extrapolating Military Technology, Space Laser Communications

1 January 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 154 Extrapolating Military Technology, Space 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

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)
9.  Costs 

Laser communications are an obvious future space communication capability.  They will be a part of an overall laser system.  Lasers can be used to designate, illuminate, range, communicate, and detect targets and your allies.  Lasers are used today to guide weapons to the target.  In space, such guidance will be a great capability for close in attacks and moderate distance attacks.  Obviously, since the limit of a laser is the speed of light, the limit for detection and illumination will be the distance of the laser target.  Distance becomes an issue because beyond a certain distance, tracking will be difficult to impossible. 

Ranging and detection will have similar limitations to designation and illumination.  The laser signal has to go to the target, be reflected, and return to the illuminator.  Laser systems will work very similarly to modern radars.  In fact, lasers can be used to map ships, objects, the ground, etc.  Generally, future laser systems will likely be designed similarly to radars. 

Back to communications.  Transmission of communications in laser signals is relatively easy.  With radar-like laser signals bouncing all over the space battlefield, identification signals in the transmissions (encrypted of course) will be used to ID your allies and to communicate. 

Obviously, laser detection will be incorporated in every space system.  It's a freebie.  The question will be the frequencies and the transmissions.

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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