1. mizzy b
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    mizzy b New Member

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    the future and...swords??

    Discussion in 'Research' started by mizzy b, Feb 12, 2010.

    Okay guys. I am creating, and have been trying to create, a sci-fi/fantasy story for a while now. The setting has a mostly sci-fi/futuristic theme, yet weapons such as guns and/or explosives are very rare (as futuristic as my story is). Many soldiers and fighting characters of my story use melee weapons such as swords, knives, etc.
    I know a lot about swords, but my sci-fi lore is not really all that great. Here are my two questions: How should I go about researching when there is so much information out there? And more importantly, how do I combine the two?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You must master Internet research, to begin with. But don't overlook your neighboirhood library, either.

    You're the writer. It's up to you decide how (or if) you should combine them.
     
  3. SilverRam
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    SilverRam Member

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    Is this your made up world or the future of our Earth? If it's the future, tough sell if you want to get rid of guns. Even if, say, the human population was so decimated that it took decades to regroup into a civilization and flourish again, lets even have the knowledge of how to make guns lost, factories gone, written records destroyed ect. There would still be some remnants of guns, probably enough for people to figure how they work and to reproduce them in factories. There is no reason I can see where swords and knives would be given more priority in a war like setting, or something similar, than guns. There are many stories of Kalashnikovs being pulled out of mud after years of being lost and still being able to shoot them. They're made to take brutal treatment.

    I think we need to know more about your aims, setting ect. Visiting a firing range or gun store couldn't hurt. And there is always google.
     
  4. mizzy b
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    mizzy b New Member

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    When it comes to internet research, I have to say that I am highly skilled. I was wondering about alternative research. And to answer SilverRams question, its a world I invented that is very similiar to earth yet different in many ways. Think of the setting as when guns first started being invented. Guns ARE in my story, but there hard to come by. Its kind of like when guns started being invented in the West, yet japan still had the samurai.
    But thank you guys for your answers though. I apologize for not being more specific, my writing is still in its early stages (like a butterfly still in the stage of a caterpillar). I will go and do some Googling now.
     
  5. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I always thought it'd be cool if in some kind of fantasy setting there was something special about using a knive, sword, that a gun just couldn't give you. To me, guns are just shoot + kill, not much art to it. But using a sword there is a lot of technique and you could make it so that it's a commonly practiced technique to know how to deflect bullets, evoke swift movement, stealth, or even some kinds of martial arts (that may have never existed) about using an blade to manipulate aura / wind flow to be able to attack long range with a blade (without throwing it, haha). Just a thought, if you wanted to mix guns and swords together you just change your fantasy world to accommodate that with ideas like I said about that would give guns and blades roughly equal ground in combat.
     
  6. mizzy b
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    mizzy b New Member

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    *clap, clap, clap* Exactly. This is what I am seemingly trying to do. The thing is, I want to make my story unique, something that others haven't thought of yet.
     
  7. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Although what I've said has been hinted at and played with before (like in video games and such), I think there's still a lot of room to be creative and original with it.
     
  8. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    One way to go about this is to come up with a loose mental (or written, if you'd prefer) sketch of how this society works. Then your research will be far easier to get through.

    For example, you want guns to be rare. If this is futuristic, you might easily have a world where guns are available if you are rich enough, but most people would fight with hand weapons. Perhaps the society has something of an honor code, and unless you are actually at war, the interpersonal honor code mandates that you fight one on one with weapons.

    Or perhaps you have magitech -- a way to harness magic in the society's technology. Maybe there is an easy shielding spell that reduces the effectiveness of bullets, and only really powerful wizards can nullify the shielding spell. So only a few people would find guns useful. (And you would be very, very cautious around those few people.)

    Maybe this futuristic sci-fi/fantasy world is involved in colonizing space. You have a colony that way established, oh, say around a hundred fifty years ago. Guns and gunpowder are expensive and precious, because there is a limited supply of refined chemicals. Guns would only be used by, say, town guardsmen defending the colony towns from the beasts of the surrounding world; everyone else has to make do with metal weapons. (Or stone weapons, or heavy wooden bludgeons.) And gunpowder or explosives would be valuable principally for blasting through rocks to get to metal ores, or to build better roads, or to get small pieces of stone for building things like houses and walls.

    Basically, research the things that will directly impact your story. If you have an honor code causing characters to rely on hand-to-hand weapons, you'll want to research weapons that were used in duels -- like rapiers, perhaps, or short swords, or knives of various types. If you want weapons of war, look to longswords, bastard swords, claymores, pikes and spears (and armor designed to deal with all of the above, however badly).

    You might also want to look into war as it was in the 1400s to the 1600s in Europe. Small armies, a mix of weaponry (including guns, although they were slow to reload), and so on and so forth.

    As for combining sword info with sci-fi info: just try to come up with a believeable world, and if it's a good story, your readers will follow along.
     
  9. JoenSo
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    I know you want to create something unique, but you could check out some other works where guns and blades have been combined for inspiration. In the Dune series the characters have personal shields which bullets and other high speed objects can't penetrate, but a blade can.

    NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind is also a fantasy where they use both guns and swords, and I think it's combined in a good way too.
     
  10. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is possible for both guns and swords to play a part on the battlefield. I don't mean just the arqubusiers and handguns, either, it's still practical even with light machine guns. Chainmail, on a steel shield, could easily deflect most bullets, and silk has properties that enable it to take the bullet's impact, and probably work in the same way as body armour. I've seen it done, albeit with a pathetic excuse for a gun.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Swords are a generally low-tech weapon that can be produced without the kinds of machining tools required for guns, and without the need to manufacture explosive propellents, not to mention the exacting components for energy weapons. That makes it potentially attractive to grassroot revolts. Slightly higher tech swords could be crafted from ceramics or composites to slip through security screens - no metals, propellents, or energy signatures to detect, making them an assassin's weapon of choice.

    Even higher tech swords could be envisioned, such as Larry Niven's variable sword (a single-molecule-wide Sinclair monofilament made rigid with a stasis field. The filament is retracted into the handle when not in use).
     
  12. LtFrankie
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    I'd have to agree with SilverRam, but I'd go a step further and say guns will NEVER disappear. They're just too old and simple of a technology. At worst, we'd revert to blackpowder, and even that is a huge stretch considering there's alot of simple folk who can reload/hand load cases, and there's still ALOT of guns from the american civil war that work just fun. Hell, a late 19th century mosin nagant is only 3x the price of a 'newer' one, just to give you an idea of how long lasting guns are.

    Also...even when guns were highly unreliable and all, they became so widespread because instead of years or month of training someone to use a sword or bow, it took maybe a week or two at most to train someone to effectively use a gun.

    Also, I haven't seen it mentioned, but gun control anybody? It can easily be the biggest reason for why people don't have guns. I mean--that's the only real excuse. Japan is a pretty good example, where the police and criminals rarely use guns. The cops there spend alot more time with martial arts and their Tokyo police only fires about a hundred shots a year. I dunno, it's just a really huge stretch for any other reason that swords are more widespread than guns in a industrialized, let alone a scifi setting.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Consider Dune. The invention of personal shields that stop high velocity rounds but allow a slow blade to pass made firearms nearly obsolete. Also, Herbert decreed that lasguns (laser weapons) interacted with shields to produce an explosion with nuclear force, destroying both the assailant and the target, in order to make such weapons also very unpopular.

    He then complicated matters further by writing that shield technology attracts sandworms, so on the desert, blades and no shields is the way of war. Reintroducing firearms would be a possibility, but with no firearms inductry in place, it just doesn't happen.

    This is an example of how you manipulate the rules to shape the technology or weapons you want to permit or deny.
     
  14. LtFrankie
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    Even then, you can make a slower velocity, but still lethal round for the firearm.

    Nor does there need to be an industry dedicated to firearms to make one, which is why partisans or places with few modern firearms don't resort back to bows and swords. I mean--swords take so much technique/skill and everything that I can't imagine it EVER coming back. unless, ofcourse said society has some honor code/gun control.
     
  15. B-Gas
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    There needs to be an industry dedicated to firearms to make them as useable as they are today. A gun needs to be built, but it also needs ammunition, cleaning and someone to teach you- if you can't buy ammo, you need to manufacture it yourself, which takes time and effort and raw materials you might not have. If you have to build them yourself, every bullet will be special and none of them will be as accurate as the machine-crafted ammunition that most people use these days.

    I'm not saying it's impossible for someone to make and use guns without an industry behind it. It would just be a lot more difficult. A sword doesn't need ammunition, it doesn't need maintenance aside from the occasional sharpening, and even if it goes dull it's still a hell of a chunk of metal.

    And in the case of Dune or similar works- if there are big predators out there that are attracted to the sound of gunfire, you don't use guns. There are no perfect silencers; even the best ones merely suppress the sound. And you wouldn't want to risk missing, as the gun may have a silencer but the bullet can't.
     
  16. LtFrankie
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    For one, the industry likely wouldn't collapse if all they had to do was adapt through either lower velocity bullets or ways to get around the shield in general. ALOT of improvised firearms were made to be just as easily built by a gunsmith as it would be for an illiterate rebel peasant, including sub machine guns.

    There's this one video where there's this huge black market of firearms, and they easily craft modern firearms and ammo barely without any tools. Then there's the improvised guns in Africa and the Philippines.

    Sten guns, patik/cigarette guns etc. are great examples of the ease of crafting firearms, modern or black powder.

    Oh, and B-Gas, I'd link you to a video, but I think then my post would be deleted. Just youtube " suppressor bolt gun" and click the first link. That's how quiet a modern (not a scifi one) silencer w/modern subsonic ammo is.

    I still stand by the idea that gun control, be it in the form of treaties, honor code or politics is the most practical way to control the number of guns. Guns would then mostly end up in the hands of the wealthy folk who may live on the country side.
     

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