19 February 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 200 Extrapolating Military Technology, Replacement 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. Fuel is a critical need it battle and related directly to the type of power plants in the equipment. Of similar criticality is the power plants themselves. I noted this when I discussed the issue with the German jet fighters and bombers. Equipment in the military and in wartime is of limited life. You don't want to throw the stuff away, you want to be able to keep it at peak. It really helps to have a strong engineering knowledge if you intend to delve into this level of extrapolation. I think it has strong theme and plot ramifications.
Examples today is the life of the US military's F-100 engine. The same for any jet or other engine. An improvement in the engine or the development of a new power plant with a 100% longer life at peak capability would significantly improve the capability to fight. This is true of most critical technology. What I mean by critical technology is the technology that makes a military capability possible. For example, the stealth coatings or design of an aircraft, the engine, the fuel, the weapons, the electronics, the ammo. These are critical. Other parts of the system (vehicle or aircraft) might be necessary to operations (critical tactically), but less critical strategically.
Replacement parts and the ability to get them to the field and install/change them are part of the tactical costs.
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: