1. Mr Filthy
    Offline

    Mr Filthy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    main races for a sci-fi story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mr Filthy, Jul 22, 2010.

    I'm writing a sci-fi story and I have something called the Council which is a group of the five main races in the galaxy and each has their own home planet
    I am having a hard time trying to think of types of races to make I want to make one of them a race of sentient machines that nobody knows how or when they were created and another race that is aquatic with their home world mostly covered in water and of course Humans. I am trying to look or ideas for the remaining two races, any ideas?
     
  2. BlueWolf
    Offline

    BlueWolf Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    COPY!!!!

    Sorry - I have 'The Council' in my published book LMAO! Although, I can assure you they are sooooo very different to what you described.

    I could suggest the elements: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, but that leaves you one short.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Seems to me you are going at this backwards. You've decided there should be five species represented, but you have no idea what each race's role will be in the story.
     
  4. Nalix
    Offline

    Nalix Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cuenca, Ecuador
    I'll dito Cogito on that, mostly. It's more important to know what you want the story to do first, and then how to use the various races should become more evident.

    That being said, if you want to start from the angle of the setting rather than the story itself, consider what you want each of the races to represent. Each species should have its own history and identity regardless of whether or not you describe it in the story. And even if one race has a mysterious past, it is important that you as the author know about that past. In fact, that makes it even more important.

    As for machines, intelligent or otherwise, form follows function. This is true for species as well. Consider what they do before you consider what they should look like.

    You seem to be going for odd differences here, the classic five-man-band only with species instead of individuals, where each one is unique and complements the others. You can build on that or try to subvert it. I am more personally inclined to subvert it. Like making both other races aquatic as well, and have humans as the odd ones out. That at least would create a different kind of setting - one where the majority of the habitats would be aquatic - something to put humans at least out of their comfort zone.

    Do what you want, but consider the story first. What emotions do you want to evoke? What circumstances do you want to portray? Consider what kinds of environments suit those objectives, and that should point you in the direction of what kinds of people (or species) will fit those environments.
     
  5. gabelpa
    Offline

    gabelpa Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cogito has a point. What function will each race serve?

    Bear in mind, Silicon can form the same chemical bonds that carbon can, but it is not as plentiful on this planet. Also, oxygen is only required for most forms of life on this planet, but other reactive gasses will work just as well.

    If the dinosaurs hadn't been wiped out, would they have evolved to sentience, and what would they be like?
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not entirely true, especially in an oxygen atmosphere. Under other conditions, it couls be possible, but not in conditions similar to ours.
     
  7. Nobeler Than Lettuce
    Offline

    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Anytown USA
    Another great lesson in sci-fi writing is floating around this thread.

    Your races could be cutouts of science fiction archetypes, and if you enjoy sci-fi there should be a number of examples, but they also could be built, say as god built the world, from the ground up, beginning with their evolution.

    Try to imagine how a ground squirrel turns into a tree monkey, how a small pigish thing turns into an elephant, then come up with bright ideas to make these things so much different than humans.

    In the movie The Abyss, the ocean aliens are these wonderful angels floating on the transparent wings of a manta ray with the bio-luminescence of deep sea jellies. They couldn't survive at all on land, and before what's his face vomited pink oxygen juice all over their floor they hated human kind.

    Which brings me to another thing. (Sorry if this is slapdash, because I'd love to describe my whole philosophy on these things to you but I don't have the time) Every alien, starting first with the easiest to identify, humanity, probably has a series of signs and gestures that others cannot, or would look silly to share. For example if something is a feline species, grinning at him would get you cut. Psychic aliens would never take us seriously, our minds are too random. Machine aliens might act like Data on Star Trek, or they might decide not even to have bodies, instead putting their entire civilization's consciousnesses in a gigantic server farm. (Uh...like the Borg...on Star Trek.)

    It's good to ask questions, but this one seemed like you just wanted us to write for you. I thought people came to Sci-Fi and Fantasy because it allowed you to imagine whatever you want?
     
  8. nickbedford
    Offline

    nickbedford Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Five races mean nothing when there's no characters and no plot. Who's the protagonist? Which race is he/she from and why? What happens to him/her that warrants being written about in a novel? Is he a peaceful man or a soldier? Maybe one of those races aren't natural warriors.

    I'm writing a science fiction novel myself. There's four races (of humans), and I have a general "grand plan" for the story. The plot of the novel is only a part of this "grand story" idea. My character "Lt. Com. Quin" is the one my novel is centered around. The plot is centered around his part in the story.

    It's okay to want to define your world, but really, you also need to find out a story behind all these worlds, races and creatures, and then you need to find a part of that story to write about in your novel.

    For example, if war happened between the races, maybe you could write about a particular soldier or about a group of soldiers, "brothers" and their plight, keeping one as the primary protagonist. From there you might think "okay, in ... 4500AD, due to the collapse of The Council, war began" then from there you can drill down further until you find a character you want to write about. Once you have that, then you can think of the reasons for his actions, where he came from and thus begin to understand in yourself, the nature of the races, the history and the potential future.

    From then, you can start to see the story, the world, the characters and actual plot lines forming from this one particular point.

    You don't need to know everything about your world before starting to write. I know barely anything except some predetermined ideas about race, location, basic ideals and a basic story (remember, this is not the plot, that's specific to the novel I'm writing at this time).

    You'll find that things become a lot more fun and interesting when you have something or someone to write about.
     
  9. Peregrin
    Offline

    Peregrin Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    I really get tired of keeping up with a bunch of alien species, so I decided to severely limit them in my book. It just adds too much unnecessary weight IMO. I also don't like planet-hopping because it's too unrealistic across big distances, so there's one inhabitable planet and that's it. The races are really simple and very human-like so I don't have to go to great pains to describe them. Their cultural differences from humans is more important than their physiology. In order to give them some contrast, they have different sub-races and and cultures among them just as us real-life humans here on Earth do.

    I also have a "council." It is comprised of members from different governments instead of different alien races.
     
  10. nickbedford
    Offline

    nickbedford Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I agree, though there isn't anything wrong with having aliens, I decided to go a maybe less used approach.

    Mine is more of a continuation (though about 42,000 A.D. in my setting) of general space exploration, colonisation, expansion, migration etc. No humans had never found more than multi-celled organisms and very primitive animals. Religion was now rare due to the dominance of science and astronomy, but there are those believed in the "old religions", to the bone. "No aliens? Doesn't that mean we're divine?" sort of thinking.

    No sentient species had even been found, communicated with or assimilated with. But the whole premise of my story is the sudden resurgence of a sentient alien species. Well, two races of the species in fact, one bent on protecting "their" galaxy, one benevolent returning to warn and aid the humans.

    They both populated the galaxy long ago, but left due to civil conflict. The problem is that the not-so-nice race left beacons. They "owned" the galaxy in their own minds and they left them for when someone else and inferior (humans) colonised. The beacons are a key plot device in the novel.

    My setting in particular, while clearly science fiction will be based on a fairly non-fantastical evolution of our space program and civilisation. The fantastical part is this sudden realisation that they were never alone.

    I like space operas and science fiction which are rooted in reality. Firefly is a good example. Star Wars is fantastical but still rooted in human ethics, morals and culture, which connects the audience.
     
  11. gabelpa
    Offline

    gabelpa Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's the point. Silicon based life, from an environment completely inhospitable to humans. Sentience is still possible when you stretch things far enough.

    Sentience though, comes at a cost. We have evolved in a certain way, but a virus, now that is the pinnacle of evolution. :)
     
  12. Northern Phil
    Offline

    Northern Phil Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    UK
    I think one thing that you need to consider is how do your humans interact with the other species. You mention that one of the races is aquatic, therefore they will not speak in the same manner as a human does and it may be that they have evolved a completly different way to interact with each other. You may need to look at fish and dolphins to understand how they will behave in your novel.
     
  13. untalented311
    Offline

    untalented311 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    ohio
    If your going to go for that whole earth air water fire, thing, then perhaps magic would be the last one, and they could opposite the sentient machines. you could take earth out of the mix, and make air the species that sort of beings the rest of the species together
     
  14. rowlocks
    Offline

    rowlocks New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Does each race have its own culture, technology and economy? Or is there a master species? Also, are the technologies of each race equally advanced?
    Do the different races engage in commerce together? Interplanetary tourism?
    If the species\race does not have hands or equivalent limbs it would be difficult for them to develop their own technology, but if they are all humanoid or stereotypical aliens then it won't be very original.
    How about playing around with size? Like Gulliver in Lilliput, with different gravity levels on different planets.
     
  15. Mr Filthy
    Offline

    Mr Filthy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you all for the great posts. But now i have basically scrapped the whole plot that i was coming up with in favor of a new plot that is in my opinion way better. I am definitely going to use the sentient machine race they now have a good place in my story and humans for sure also and maybe another race or so.
     
  16. josh23
    Offline

    josh23 Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ontario
    Good luck with your new plot im sure it'll be great! :D
     
  17. Sang Hee
    Offline

    Sang Hee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Sweden
    I think that most people make a mistake of giving the entire alien population the same attributes. You can't really say that the United States represent the whole Earth and in the same way the other planets might have various cultures and offshoots that make the whole population quite colorful. Creating the new alien species is imho a very complicated task and requires a lot of digging into our own history and learning something about how the societies work and evolve. Then you can bend it to your purpose for the aliens. And that's just a tiny fragment of the whole process.
     
  18. Radrook
    Offline

    Radrook Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    14
    Get yourself a college-level zoology book. If that doesn't stir your imagination nothing will. Of course your choice will be determined by the types of biospheres your intended races, as you call them, inhabit and how these creatures mesh with the other three races in the story plot. So since you are the only one aware of which way you want your story to go, it's your call.
     
  19. Earthling4Hire
    Offline

    Earthling4Hire New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Duvall, WA
    It's not this simple. Although I wouldn't place silicon-based life in the realm of impossibility, it's definitely one of the most improbable forms of life currently proposed. Carbon-based ammonia soluble biochemistry is significantly more likely to exist, and even if it does it's projected to occur at a ratio of only 1/100th that of carbon-based water soluble biochemistry. This is because the evolutionary time scales of carbon-based ammonia soluble biochemistry is much longer. Silicon biochemistry is even more disadvantaged than this. FTL speed travel and time travel are more plausible in the realms of sci-fi than silicon based life with natural evolutionary origins.

    As a sci-fi writer if I wanted to introduce synthetic or machine-like sentients I would consider giving them a non-natural origin, that is, have them created by other sentients. Otherwise, I feel that the world is walking the line between sci-fi and fantasy in space. My two cents for what it’s worth. I spend a lot of my personal time researching and studying astrobiology so I get a bit heated up when people assume that life forms so easily.
     

Share This Page