7 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 216 Extrapolating Military Technology, more 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)
Tactical costs are food, fuel, ammo, and replacements. How do you provide 2000 calories per meal to troops in the field. That is a daunting logistics feat. It only became possible in mass in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The mass logistics meals of that time were made possible by cans. Until cans, fresh or cooked food could not be transported or stored for any reasonable period and distributed to the troops. In the past, most armies ate grain of some type as their mainstay--for example, wheat, oats, barley, or rice. In my published novel, Centurion, I give many details of the Legion's meals and logistics. The food was plentiful compared to the rest of the populace, but very sparse and monotonous compared to our meals. The Legions ate mostly wheat gruel and that was it. There were some additions like olive oil, cheese, and beer (usually barley beer), but not much else. They didn't eat meat. Meat was reserved for the sacrifice and festivals. That's true of all meat in the ancient world.
So, the easiest logistics were those in the ancient world--all they needed was refined wheat, transport capability, pots, fuel, and water. Think about how daunting, in ancient times that was. The pot themselves were literally worth their weight in copper or brass. Remember in the time, copper and brass were used for money--they were literally their weight in value. The pots had to be secured all the time, so they wouldn't walk away. The pots were heavy as was the wheat. The cooks had to be full up Legionnaires to protect the pots, the transportation (wagons and horses or oxen). All of these things were of great value in the ancient world. All these things were necessary to fight and keep fighting. The Legionnaires did carry some rations, but that is another part of this discussion.
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: