10 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 219 Extrapolating Military Technology, Compact Food 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)
10. Morale (discipline)
Tactical costs are food, fuel, ammo, and replacements. Of course, from the can we gradually moved to MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). The MRE improved the weight, flavor, and compactness of the can. The MRE even solved the problem of heating the can. When I was issued C-Rats (Canned rations--at least that's what we said they stood for), we heated the cans by putting then on the hot exhaust parts of the motors of our vehicles. We had all kinds of ways of making the C-rats taste better, and everyone had their favorites. At the same time there were C-Rats, there were also K-Rats (survival rations of compressed cornflakes and stuff), LRPS (I don't remember what the acronym means, they were dehydrated meals that really tasted great). You had to drink a lot of water with K-Rats because they'd stop you up. The LRPS were basically an entrée and not a full meal.
As I wrote, the MREs solved the problem of heating by having a chemical pack that heats the hot part of the meal to above boiling in minutes. So, let's look at the interpolation of the technology. The combat meal went from cans (C-Rats) to a lightweight packaged meal (MREs). The meals are about the same caloric level (2000), but the size, variability, quality, weight, and convenience went up. This is what your extrapolation for future battle-ready food should do. I don't expect meals to ever be about swallowing pills (where do you get the bulk and the calories?), but I do expect more convenience, quality, and smaller size. However, most of the food an army eats is not combat meals--most of the food is prepared on the battlefield. The reason is cost and morale.
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: