18 February 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 199 Extrapolating Military Technology, yet 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. I will discuss replacements, but let's still focus on fuel. Fuel in tactical (and strategic) warfare is always a critical issue. The question should always be, where is it coming from and when. The when is as important because all the fuel in the world that doesn't arrive on time is worthless.
In my novels, The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox, you can read about fuel in warfare. Fueling becomes an issue in tactics in space warfare. Spaceships have to be fueled. In the universe of The Dragon and the Fox, the fuel is hydrogen and other elements. Most warships in that universe are equipped with scoops to allow refueling from gas giants. There is all kinds of free fuel in the atmosphere of gas giants. Likewise, many of the shuttles use gas scavenge engines for propulsion. The refuel themselves by burning the atmospheric gases during reentry and during their climb out of the atmosphere. Pretty neat ideas--because fuel is precious and critical to any operation--especially in space where you can't expect to find a gas station on every planet or solar system.
The point is this, when you write about vehicles in your science fiction universe, you need to tell us what fuels them, where it comes from, and when they can get it. I used classical means from fuel in spaceships and extrapolated it to the other vehicles. That's one of the ways you get to the point.
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: