14 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 223 Extrapolating Military Technology, Morale
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)
Costs roll directly into morale. Morale really isn't so much something extrapolated as a quality that can exist anywhere independent of extrapolation. However, morale is a fragile component of the military and one that is greatly affected by changing cultural and societal ideals.
As long as your military believes there is something to fight for, they will have some degree of morale. The greater the degree of worth in the culture and society, the higher the morale. Additionally, the greater the degree of feeling of specialness and eliteness, the higher the morale. You may be able to see where this is going.
A nation that does not have a strong nationalistic view of itself cannot produce a strong military morale. A military that doesn't view itself as an elite fighting force is one with low morale. The problem is the tendency of modern nations to water down their nationalism and their militaries. This extrapolation is very important. For example, the view of American exceptionalism has fueled the morale of the US military. It isn't just patriotism, but the view that America is a special nation and a special place that was the powerhouse of its military's morale. If that view slips, especially in the military, the US might find itself on the wrong end of winning a large conflict.
The loss of the view of American exceptionalism will mean the US military will have to depend on simple patriotism. Patriotism requires respect and pride in the nation as a whole. This is impossible in a pluralistic society that is not united. In a united pluralistic society, this is possible. If you haven't noticed the US has moved from a united pluralistic society to a non-united pluralistic society. The Islamic attacks by members of the military against their own troops should show the danger of pluralism without unity.
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: