17 January 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 170 Extrapolating Military Technology, Air Cushion Vehicles
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)
I'm going to lump air-cushion and ground effect vehicles in the same group. Both take advantage of aerodynamics at the surface of the earth and both have similar characteristics. With both types of vehicles, you get high speed, any surface crossing (including water), load lifting based on the size of the vehicle, and reasonable safety with automation. They are both hard to armor and might not make great direct combat vehicles.
An air-cushion vehicle does just as described--it rides on a cushion of air. Ducted fans or jet engines provide the air to raise the craft above the ground and to propel it. In potential advanced versions, the propel and cushion are all in one. Today, most are separate. The air-cushion vehicle has a curtain around it to hold the air in and direct it down--this is its main vulnerability--a hit on the curtain can dump airflow and cause a loss of propulsion. Air-cushion vehicles require lots of power and large foot print to load. They are being used right now by littoral forces for landing craft. This makes them direct combat vehicles, but they usually aren't armored or weaponed for offense. They are usually used just as landing craft and their worth in combat has not really been proven well. Unlike armored combat landing craft. They are fast and the resilience of their propulsion system is up to debate. With improvements, however, air-cushion vehicles have legs and likely will be around for a while--until anti-grav platforms.
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: