1. cityofdelusions
    Offline

    cityofdelusions New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada

    Description throughout a sci-fi novel?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cityofdelusions, Mar 29, 2013.

    I'm having trouble thinking about the level or even what kind of devices would look like in an advanced dystopian setting. I'm not trying for spaceships or flying cars, but more like desribing security or weapons. Should I be looking at examples from other books for advice or????
     
  2. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    If this is taking place within 200 years or so, weaponry wont be too different than today. Yes there will probably be some sort of energy weapon or a nervous system disruptive device but, especially, in a dystopian setting--which usually means run-down, dirty and having to make-do with 20 or 30 year old machinery--I think that keeping weapons fairly close to what the are now would be fitting.

    Now as far as what they will look like...remember form follows function. And if people are using them then they'll have to be made so that people can pick them up and use them. So...there again they will look much like weapons do today.
     
  3. doghouse
    Offline

    doghouse Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    1
    *drools* Sci-fi! Damn, I love it.

    First, consider your audience. Most sci-fi readers will know a lot of 'lingo' so there is little need to describe weapons in detail. In fact, no need to describe in detail much of anything relating to technology. Unless it's hard sci-fi you're going for and new ideas need to be put across, or speculative tech needs some info on it.

    Exposition in itself, and how much, is subjective. Just don't go re-inventing the wheel.

    It wouldn't hurt to read some sci-fi, just do it critically, and see how some authors handle what you question.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Weapons in the civil war
    Iraq war drones

    Seems change would be an understatement for weapons in the next 200 years.

    I think this is one of the hardest things for future fictional worlds, predicting what technology will exist in the future. William Gibson, "Neuromancer", famously lamented not predicting cell phones.

    It's hard to imagine technology even 20 years in the future let alone 200. I'm working hard on that issue too. I've been finding some success on the Net looking at some of the geek sites.

    The rest of your post made sense, Nee, it was just this one comment I take issue with. :)
     
  5. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    I was adapting the response to an dystopian setting. And I assumed cityofdelusions was talking about personal weaponry--you know, for crowd control and alike. And dystopian regimes are not known for their high-tech innovation: they are more on the lines of cheap and brutally effective. But whatever...it's cool.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I think that's a reasonable technique, writing in some reasons for less progress than you'd find in a future world in that time frame. The reason for my comment is because I've been doing tedious research to make my future world 'future' and I knew how hard it is given how fast technology is advancing.
     
  7. gwilson
    Offline

    gwilson Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    There are a lot of old role playing games like Traveller, Shadow Run, Star Frontiers, Paranoia, Universe, and many others that will contain large lists and descriptions of many weaponry/security/vehicles. If I were you, I'd google them and see what they have to offer. You might find some inspiration there?
     
  8. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    Again, I aimed my comments on the particular question of weaponry in a dystopian setting: where, in nearly all the scenarios, dystopian societies have come about after decades of war, natural and man-made calamities of one form or another where they managed to hold onto some technologies while loosing others. So, firearms technology being that it’s been around for about 400 years would certainly be one of the technologies that may be reasonably expected to survive. Same with basic electricity…though because of distribution problems gasoline powered cars probably wouldn’t be common—but they’d still have horses to pull wagons around.
     
  9. MilesTro
    Offline

    MilesTro Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Springfield
    I think a stream punk setting can a good advance dystopian setting. People would just find a new energy source to power up their technology. Anything from the old past will be turn into something new and better.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Interesting. I appreciate this viewpoint. What about a dystopia that comes about through apathy? Just curious about your thoughts on it.
     
  11. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    Well, that kind of thing hasn't ever happen so we don't actually know if it is even possible or not. every actual one that has come around did so from a combination of trickery and brute force. So if it can happen through apathy then that would be some pretty all encompassing apathy. So much so that I'd wonder how long that condition lasted, and how far into the society this apathy bore down into. Did it extend into the university system? How 'bout stock investments? Was it so pervasive that most of their forward movement in technologies was curtailed? Interesting question that.
     
  12. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    Try looking at things like Star Trek or Mass Effect for some ideas

    Not Star Wars though, for some reason every gun in that universe is uniquely designed to miss or be deflected by a light saber -_-
     
  13. Simmy1993
    Offline

    Simmy1993 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    The only advice I can offer is not to use much technical jargon. Obviously there's the required amount, and then what sci-fi fans will have picked up. Then however there is getting into to much technical detail where you feel that you should go and look up what you are reading which, granted, is educational but also breaks the immersion of the book. Have a peek at Fallout for some inspiration, you might find some neat things!
     
  14. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I agree with @Nee and @MilesTro. I dabble in sci-fi and love to read it, and I believe that one prerequisite for writing good sci fi is to have interest and ideas about future technologies. I have always been fascinated with how things work how the Universe works and I remember having my first metaphysics idea about parallel universes when I was five ( I must have seen a portrayal of a black hole on tv and got totally amazed). I have a keen interest in quantum physics (even though I don't understand most of it) and astrophysics and I love watching documentaries about it. I follow a few scientific blogs and I always read science news on any news website I visit. I even have a phone app for astro pictures and all the descriptions, it's in incredibly inspiring to look at. This is the best way to get inspired about anything sci fi. And also reading a lot of good sci fi (Dune, Mars Trilogy, Do Androids Dreamof Electric Sheep, Foundation series by Asimv etc).

    Also, it's normal to have your mind on one particularly cool development and to want to look for the "filler"technologies in order to define the future word. Just make sure that you are not writing sci fi with no clue about either. Because in that case, you'd be better off writing futuristic fantasy, which can be just as imaginative.
    In any case, good luck with your project :)
     
  15. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I suggest you watch some anime. The Japanese are some of the most creative people I know. You wouldn't get concrete suggestions but it'll certainly inspire you with what COULD happen in the future. Say, Battle Angel Anita involves robot scientists and at one point a robot preserved the head of a human by charging the human head with her own life-supply, takes the head to the "doctor" who transformed the boy into a cyborg because his body is dead but his head is "intact". Ghost in the Shell again involves a female cyborg who's I think leading the police to capture a "mind hacker" of sorts, a security breach where I think someone was hacking into people's minds? Evangelion includes some kind of upside-down city underground for security measure against "angels".

    The Japanese has a way of merging the futuristic with the normal things that you and I know well, giving it quite an interesting atmosphere - it looks and feels like our world but it is also distinctly different. Worth looking into I think.
     
  16. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6
    Taking too much inspiration from anime introduces the danger of ending up with middle school girls with earrings that transform into wands and shoot rainbows at their enemies.

    But seriously, you can draw some ideas from movies/manga/anime/novels but what could be an even bigger source of inspiration is forum discussions. If you conduct a google search on futuristic weaponry discussions you will find many discussion boards where people talk about that stuff.
     
  17. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Keep the description relevant to the story, and appropriate to the POV character. Even an anonymous narrator has a personality.
     

Share This Page