16 February 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 197 Extrapolating Military Technology, Fuel Tactical Costs
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)
Tactical costs are food, fuel, food, and replacements. These are critical to operating in the field. An army must be able to get these from a depot to the troops, store them, and use them. This is more difficult than you might imagine. Fuel is subject to evaporation. This was the greatest problem for Rommel and Montgomery in North Africa. Rommel, the sly devil, discovered that British fuel cans were very superior to German fuel cans simply due to lack of spillage and evaporation. He saved as much as 40% fuel by recycling the British cans. That was good because the Brits left thousands in the desert.
There is a lesson in tactics and logistics--don't leave materiel that your enemy can profit with. Unluckily, this example was one of the few times the Germans could take advantage of the enemies logistics. In general, the way Western powers approach logistics is nearly the same. Develop fuel, etc. based on technology and not on your enemy. The Russians had a better idea. They couldn't take total advantage of it, but they had a great idea. Use diesel. Kerosene based fuels will not run a high octane vehicle (gasoline). On the other hand, gasoline will run in a kerosene vehicle. The best means to take advantage of this is with turbine engines. The Germans finally got the right idea with their jet aircraft. No one really took advantage of kerosene for ground based vehicles. In your writing, you might have your troops use this method of logistics to thwart their enemies and supply their allies.
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: