26 January 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 179 Extrapolating Military Technology, yet more Simulation
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)
One of the main reason the military has not moved more into simulation is that simulating warfare requires multiple simulators and multiple actors. The cost and the complexity of simulating a whole world to one person is very high--the cost and complexity of putting a whole force on line is also high, but nothing compared to trying to simulate the world. The problem becomes integration and equipment. In other words, if I take a whole task force and put them in their individual integrated simulators, I only need to simulate the factors and elements outside the task force. The cost is the simulation, the integration, and the simulators. On the other hand, if I simulate the entire task force, I can simulate an individual's experience in the task force--I only need one simulator, but it has to be a really great simulator. The military doesn't want either cost and the cost of both is high. With improving simulations and lowering simulator costs, eventually, the cost curves will move toward simulation.
I'm not sure if the above gives as clear a picture as necessary--let me give another example. If we simulate a single aircraft, the crew can fly a mission and the simulator instructor can simulate all the agencies and the communications. The simulator can simulate the problems of the aircraft. What the simulator, today, will not do is the external agencies, the scenarios, the communications, the enemy actions, the battle situation, or other aircraft interaction. If I add an integrated second aircraft simulator, I can simulate (actual) formation and operations, but I've added the complexity of another simulator. If I add an air traffic controller, I've added another simulator into the mix. The need for simulators increase or simulations--both cost money. The main problem is equipment, that is simulators.
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: