1. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Space Age setting

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Meteor, Aug 14, 2012.

    Hello and than you all for taking the time to read this.


    I've been trying to write a story that takes place in a futuristic setting, about 1,600 years after a period where Earth becomes uninhabitable. The problem is I really don't know exactly what I need. I know space is BIG so I figured I could use more imagination than anything, but should I be doing more research on what is and isn't known about our massive back yard the Milkyway? I plan to have my story taking place in numerous regions of space, with in an acceptable boundry of course, and more than once the battles take place in the middle of no where. So I really wasn't concerned about the overall setting. Should I center the setting more around planets and solar systems or would being in the middle space at certain times be acceptable?


    Thank you everyone for your input!
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Depends really on what your going for. A lot of scattered research won't do any good until you pinpoint
    exactly what your story is about. I could do a lot of research on America but if I narrow my story down to
    some plains in Kansas - I could've saved myself a lot of trouble.
    You could get some basic books on space in the library - sometimes the junior/young adult section
    is the most useful, as they are written in a straight forward manner with all questions answered upfront.
    You also have to decide if the bulk of your story takes place on space ships more traveling or on planets - more
    exploring.
     
  3. Cynglen
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    Cynglen Senior Member

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    As far as battles go, consider the different settings in a strategic mindset. A useful planet is much more valuable, and worth fighting for, than empty space, but perhaps one side is trying to catch the other far away from reinforcements.

    Space is, as you said, BIG, and that gives you more creative freedom than any other location. The big choice, then, is whether you want to do hard sci-fi (fiction based in what we know is real) or science fantasy (spinning whatever you can come up with into a futuristic setting). I personally go for hard sci-fi to make the stories more believable, but it's really up to the writer of each story.
     
  4. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Thank you both for the input I'll probably grab a book or two and read up on what certain zones of the galaxy are thought to look like and what they might contain. I plan to have it be more hard sci-fi than fantasy sci-fi though. I prefer when things don't seem to insanely unbelievable. Commenting on the first part of your post though Cynglen, I set my characters are far from home. Its under attack and has been for several years, but has held out against the new enemy for about a decade before it started becoming overwhelmed due to lack of resources to rapidly repair or construct new ships where as the enemy appears to have unlimited supplies and ships(there was a civil war years before the invasion). The characters in question are on board a capital ship desperately sent into unexplored space to find potential allies or ancient technology from dead civilizations. This is, of course, to help in the war effort. They run across a few of the mentioned dead civilizations and I planned to have them faced with automated defense systems still left in place on ghost ships, moons, asteroid fields and planetary defense systems on occasion. So I'm wondering, based on that, would a planet with clearly ancient yet advanced ruins be worth more than a ghost ship drifting in space in your opinion?
     
  5. Cynglen
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    Cynglen Senior Member

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    Well, Meteor, it all depends on what the ruins contain vs. the ship. If humanity were wiped out and aliens found Earth a few hundred years later, the crumbling remains of our modern cities and significant constructions (provided they withstood weathering, which, unfortunately, construction materials/methods used over the last couple centuries does not last nearly as well without maintenance as do ancient structures like the pyramids) could certainly provide insight into what the civilization was like, but I don't know how much "useful" technology would easily be found by your character. Despite the common depiction of "advanced ruins", I believe the same would apply to other "advanced" civilizations. Most important military information would be buried and locked away quite well. Finding a derelict ship would probably, from my view, provide a more easily constructed way of finding technology helpful to his planet's plight.
     
  6. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Thanks again Cynglen, I'll keep those factors in mind. Ships would be more constructive than planets. I guess that'd make more sense when I really think about it. As a member of the military I know we have procdures for destroying valuable material when we get invaded to keep the enemy from using them. That being said it'd only be logical that "advanced" civilizations would have something along those lines as well.
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I wrote a book last year that had a xeno-archaelogist exploring ancient ruins and one lot in particular had significant defences in place even ten thousand years later. But the reason for that was simply that they'd been at war when they'd abandoned their worlds / bases. I would think that unless that was the case, most advanced civilizations wouldn't bother creating such defences.

    Of course certain parts of their cities etc might still be defended, but for different reasons. Like the pyramids, to protect the remains of the dead pharoes and stop grave robbers / desicration.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    Sounds like you haven't read widely in the genre you plan to write, and doing so could be as valuable as researching astronomy, in order to see how authors build a self-consistent universe with some elements that are different from our present knowledge.

    You can start with various assumptions and make your readers believe it. If you want to stay true to science, though, you need to recognize how vast the empty space is between planets in a solar system and solar systems in a galaxy. The human mind can't really grasp it, but a start would be to google for "interactive scale of the universe" to see a great tool.

    A galaxy is likely to have a random mix of star types, and each star a random mix of planet types, rather than zones having certain characteristics.

    You will have to give your characters some form of faster-than-light travel that science currently indicates unlikely to be possible, if they are to be spread out over multiple solar systems. How this works for them will dictate a lot of things about how they live and fight. If travel is easy, then they wouldn't be isolated from help. If it is hard, the attackers wouldn't last long in a siege.

    Battles for planets could resemble medieval siege warfare with newer weapons and shields. Battles in space would be brief. Weapons would probably be powerful enough that the shooting would quickly be over. Either you crack the guy's defenses, he cracks yours, or you run out of energy/material to shoot at each other.

    >sent into unexplored space to find potential allies or ancient technology from dead civilizations.

    Given the vastness of the galaxy, that seems unlikely to be workable unless travel is easy. If travel is easy and there have been that many civilizations, then everything would be pretty well known. And you'll need to motivate a civilization not already in the fight to join.

    Understanding a dead civilization's technology would be a challenge. To use an example from a James Hogan story, what would smart people of 70 years ago have learned from a pocket calculator? Probably not how to build integrated circuits. A cell phone? They hardly had the technology to detect the frequency of its emissions, much less to decode the digital signal that was unknown at the time. Or go the other way. What good would finding a spark-gap radio transmitter or a Gatling gun do today? You have to be closely matched in technology to be able to use what you find. Would you know a space drive from a garbage incinerator if you found it in a derelict ship or the ruins of a strange planet?

    This is the kind of logical difficulties you have to write around. You have to make your audience suspend disbelief in this stuff if you want to succeed. That's my cynical 0.02 Perseid credits. Good luck.
     
  9. Cherrera
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    Cherrera Member

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    Have you read any of Orson Scott-Card's work? You may want to give it a look; especially, the Ender series of books. After the Speaker of the Dead, 'Jane' becomes a method of travel in a way that travel is the speed of thought. You could probably tweak that a bit and make it believable.

    Also, communication is done through the ansible. It's an immediate form of communication throughout the hundred worlds. No one really knows how it works, only that it does.
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Where are you setting your story at? More planetary or interstellar? That'll determine your scenery. Whether or not you want your population to have FTL drives is another factor to consider. If not, then the scope of what you need to cover is smaller. I'd think of those three things, look at hubble pics, and the mapping of the galaxy that's been done.
     
  11. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    I had planned to set up my story in another arm of the galaxy besides the one Earth is currently located inside. This is based on when they fled the dying Earth. I wanted into to be sort of a planet hopping act. They are using the Phase Drive to travel through space until their sub-space senors detect a possible habitable world or something of interest. They would then drop out of Phase Space and investigate. Unfortunately due to a series of revolts/rebellions and power struggles the nation I feature in the story has far less advanced technology than they should have. So the sensors are faulty and often alert them of possible habitable worlds when its just in fact asteroid fields or something of that nature. So I guess more planetary is what I really mean to say.
     
  12. NuttyStuff
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    You could research the mysteries of the galaxy and then make up stuff to explain them. This will give people something to relate to, and it doesn't even have to be possible. You would also have to create planets to fight for, and probably should have some valuable minerals on them since money is usually what people fight over (look at the middle east).
     

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