12 February 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 193 Extrapolating Military Technology, Interpolation and Combat Environment Suits
Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series--they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere', China, Sveta, and Klava--at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. 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 developed the Combat Environment Suit (CES) as an extrapolation of uniform technology for my Ghost Ship novels. Now that we have defined a peak extrapolation, you should be able to interpolate from that point. I put the CES as a 10,000 year extrapolation. The 10, 100, and 1,000 year extrapolations should be relatively simple.
Certainly, a 10 and a 100 year extrapolation wouldn't have some of the advanced characteristics of the CES. The 1,000 year extrapolation would likely not have some of the electronic refinements. The simpler editions of the CES would reduce the refinements. In a science fiction novel that covers 10 plus years, the author might show some of the advances of the CES. For example, a refinement of the camo display system that reduces the jitter or a new camo frequency. Remember, changes are usually small and incremental--they are rarely earth-shattering and large.
If interpolation is too difficult, go for extrapolation of current uniforms--just realize, the extrapolations will have to follow reasonable science. For instance, chemical protection (along with space protection) will likely require tightly fitting suits. The reason is that when you go from absorption to shedding as a protective measure, you need less (as little as possible) surface area. Unless the uniform itself takes on certain capabilities, there is little purpose in improvements. You might have a military with a uniform, like current ones, with limited capability and add-ons both under and over. A cold weather overcoat or coverall. A hot weather underwear that cools. Armor and a gunbelt etc. These are retrograde to the way the military seems to be going, but all retrogrades will exist along side the high tech. The low tech will (or may) have problems as long as the equipment is reliable. There is a great science fiction theme--the country that has high tech, but low reliability equipment fighting the low tech, but highly reliable revolutionaries. Maybe that's an old theme.
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: