10 January 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 163 Extrapolating Military Technology, Automation
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)
The watchword behind robots is automation. Automation is affecting every field of technology--it just sneaks up on us or we can't see the automation only the results. An example is the phone system. Phone systems originally had no automation at all--they required a human being to switch a phone to another phone. The automation has happened almost without anyone noticing. There once were millions of operators, now there are hundreds. Every hotel had an operator, now there are none. Every business paid a person to answer the phone, now there are none.
Automation will not get rid of every human occupation, but inventions create occupations and automation or innovation get rid of those same jobs. Some times regulations or guilds hold on to extraneous jobs, but eventually, they go to extinction.
Extrapolation of automation tells us that drivers and eventually pilots will disappear. Don't quit your job now, but in the future (likely far future, 1000 years), pilots and drivers won't be necessary anymore. Cars will drive themselves. Planes will fly themselves. We will retain the humans for a long time as pilots and drivers because of safety (when something the automation can't handle), culpability (you want to blame someone rather than something), and ease of mind (you won't trust a machine, but you will trust a person). Regulations will keep pilots in aircraft long after they are needed and in cars long after they are needed, but that's another story.
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: