1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Some question on Sci-Fi

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Marcelo, Aug 25, 2008.

    So here I am, gathering information on Science Fiction. I'll ask some questions, so please answer them! :D

    What's better: The story taking place in an invented System or in the Solar System (invented Galaxy or Milky Way applies to)?

    It is okay to have invented Galaxies/Systems where Humans exist? I mean, we are from Planet Earth, not a Galaxy far, far away.

    What method do you use to invent alien species and more importantly, name them?

    What do you think better: For a story to take place in many planets with space-faring ships and that stuff or that all the story takes places on a planet, with flying ships that look like space-ships?


    This is my first time trying to make a Sci-Fi story, and I don't know much about it, so if someone is good enough to help I'll be glad to call you my sci-fi teacher! :D
     
  2. Rapture
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    Rapture Member

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    Alrighty, here we go then =)

    First I'd say it won't really matter in the long run if you have your story in a invented universe or in our own galaxy, that being said it is a bit eaier to base it in a place that is "real" so to speak. Creating your own universe is quite tricky, you have to lose a lot of flavoring in your posts (I kept wanting to write phrases like "chicken ****" but if were in another galaxy would they even know what a chicken was o_O).

    If you feel confident that you can create a sound universe for your character that is easy to understand without seemingly being thrown together then I say go the creative route and make a entirely new universe. Still, nothing wrong with staying close to home either =)

    As far as humans in other galaxy's, why not? It is sci-fi after all. You don't really need to explain why a human is there. If you make him fit in with his surroundings people will just assume he was meant to be there.

    Alien species are always fun to make, just think of one creature and one oddity and build your way from there. A panther and tenticles for instance. Alright sleek cat form, where do the tenticles come from? Shoulder blades perhaps? How long are they? what do they use it for? Go wild. Make it covered in scales with pincers and feeds off heat. Aliens don't need to be explained evolution wise so you can really just think up what ever you want.

    Naming them? Just start combining sounds until something fits. If its a brutish muscle bound species go for rougher angrier noises. If they are friendly all knowing beings find the sounds that sooth you. Again its up to you on this =)

    As for where it should take place, again that depends on the story. Spanning from planet to planet is quite fun but if your story can be told upon a single planet it gives it a bit more real feel to it.

    Hope it helps =)
     
  3. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Invent your planets first as the evolution of species will be dictated to a significant degree by the physical characteristics in which they evolve. For example, cold blooded animals might be more common on a hot planet in which regulation of internal body temperature is less important for survival. More massive planets would produce higher surface gravity, hence be more likely to evolve shorter, more heavily muscled beings.

    Here is a link to my "Aliens" page for my sci-fi book. You'll see a direct relationship between the planet's size/ecology and the evolution of my species:

    http://www.lasthumanwar.com/Aliens.html

    As far as naming the alien species, just use your imagination until you find a name that you like and sounds "right" for your beings.
     
  4. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Since no matter what planet or galaxy or solar system you use the rules will be the same, I would say it depends on what you want to do.

    Again, depends on what you make and what you want to do with these aline life forms.

    But just ponder this, if the animal is aggressive no one while running for their life wants to try and pronounce much less yell "The Hulkiljavadookoko are coming!"

    This totally depends on what you want to do.

    I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

    But much of this is about what you the author want to do.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on how much research you want to do. Science Fiction fans love nothing better than to poke holes in a story when they find them. The closer you make the story to home, the more fact filled it will have to be to stand the acid test. Farther and farther away… the sky’s the limit.

    It all depends on how you write the reason for the human-ness of the charaters. Lots of Science Fiction takes place in a galaxy far far away and usually tries to give a reason for it, but not always.

    Star Wars~ No reason. Humans a re just there.

    Battlestar Galactica~ Reason. We are the long lost thirteenth colony of humans that did develop somewhere else.

    Stargate: SG1~ Reason. Humans are the re-evolution of a far more ancient race (called the Ancients) and it is a built in end goal of our genes to create creatures that look like us.

    I go the route of taking a basic body plan and thinking about how it would change to fit different niches in a given world environment. I consider naming them much less important than making them physically believable.

    All depends on my plot and what would server as a better plot devise. I try not to let the tech of a science fiction story be more important than the characters.
     
  6. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I think its better to use an invented galaxy. This way, you can apply more creativity without being restricted by the bounds of what is possible in this galaxy.
    Humans should be fine on other planets. I'd make an attempt to explain it, but its not really needed.
    In terms of alien creation, I'd first look at the planet on which they live (if you've already created one) and just base their physical characteristics upon what the planet would require to survive. Not sure about naming or the spaceships, but I think that traveling through the galaxy and exploration is a pretty important factor in my opinion.
     
  7. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    I believe it takes a GREAT writer to set a sci fi on a single world.

    As far as aliens go, I just pulled a simple idea (chewbacca) and added parts to it. Don't go to in depth with their ecology and homeworld unless the characters travel there.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no 'better' for anything but the writing quality!... no plot device is any better or worse than the skills their writers bring to them... or don't...
     
  9. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I try to start in the other end when I write a story... first I come up with a plot, then I invent a setting to fit that plot. Good plots are hard to make, but settings can be tweaked and changed at will.
     
  10. Night.Runner
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    Night.Runner Member

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    The problem with an invented Universe, is that you need to dump info on the reader. Or you can use an Isaac Asimov approach and cleverly hide these info dumps within the excerpts of "Galactic Wikipedia's" which are shown at the head of each chapter. I don't see why humans shouldn't live in an invented history; simple and less info dumping.
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Just remember that if you do decide to use the Milky Way, then you will have to be accurate in describing it, which means more research on your part. From personal experience, if something in a piece of writing is just blatantly wrong, then I will stop reading it.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Consider all the thousands of SF books that have been written without infodumping on the reader, and a goodly percentage of them introduce the reader to new worlds or universes.

    The key is to provide the reader with what he or she needs, only as needed.
     
  13. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I don't think there is a right or wrong answer for that one. It will depend on your story and the environment or mood you want to set.

    Have you seen stargate? (Isn't it convienient all the humans in the universe, even the ones from china, mongolia, and egypt, all speak fluent english XD). You can have it any way you want really. I would say create some logical reason for why they are there (Migration, colonization, enslavement, are humans no originally from earth that sort of thing)

    I tend to base them either on one of three things. Technology, culture, or appearance. FOr appearance, I might think, birds are cool and make some bird aliens. For technology I could think they are really good with cybernetics, and make them sort of robotish or borgy. For culture I might think of aliens who are all about family and maybe I make them like Gorillas who travel in family groups. There's no right or wrong way. Just find something that works for you.

    For names, I make things up.

    Again no right or wrong answer. its all about how you want it to go. Personally, I go with many planets/system and many races and stuff. Conflicts that span galaxies that sort of thing.
     

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