17 February 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 198 Extrapolating Military Technology, more 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. Let's take a slight foray on fuel and engines. The Germans finally got the concept of fuel for aircraft correct at the end of WWII. They did by developing a kerosene based fighter and bomber using jet propulsion. This would have saved them millions of gallons of gasoline if they had started at the beginning of the war.
Piston powered aircraft--especially turbo charged, high performance ones, like the war planes in WWII require high octane gasoline. Gasoline is the highest level of refinement for oil. It is also the most costly. Kerosene is a much lower refinement. Kerosene has more energy (BTUs) per gallon. Kerosene is not explosive. Kerosene does not evaporate as much as gasoline. In almost every way, kerosene is a better, cheaper, more stable fuel. Plus, as I mentioned, kerosene engines can usually run gasoline, where gasoline engines can't run kerosene.
The German idea was fundamental--they didn't really design an aircraft for the purpose of running on kerosene--they designed an aircraft to have a better TBO (Time Before Overhaul). The TBO for most piston fighter engines in WWII was 10 hours--the Germans were aiming for 100 hours TBO. They achieved 20 hours TBO on the Jumo jet engines. This was an improvement of 100%. The fuel would have been a feather in their cap. The TBO was genius.
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: