1. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    When do you have too many elements?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by zoupskim, Jan 5, 2016.

    Hello. I am writing a science fiction war story about a soldier who finds out they are a brainwashed, drugged up, monster serving fascist trans-humans.

    I was wondering if that alone is to many different elements to include in one book. There is also a lot of speculation on future applications of drones in warfare, the dangers of city-destroying weapons employed at the squad level, the ethological use of wireless transmitted energy, mobile technology and it's presence on the battlefield, and the implications of large-scale orbital bombardment.

    All of these elements serve the story, but I was wondering if it is too much. I want to convey these sense that war in the future will be something inconceivable and strange to our minds, but I'm afraid that it is all too inconceivable.
     
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  2. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think those elements are too much for one story. These are topics many people, at least the ones interested in your book, will have heard brief mentions of. This will just expand on those things.

    Inconceivable is an absolute, anyway. I suggest going for broke; A story that is centered on the wonders/horrors of existing technology has a fast chance of becoming old news, unless you take it to insane heights.
     
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  3. Bandag
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    Bandag Member

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    You just explained the plot in twenty words. If you can do that, there's no reason why it should be impossible or even difficult to do the same thing in two hundred thousand words.
     
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  4. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    It's not inconceivable. Einstein said that after WW3 the wars of men will be fought with sticks and stones. Taking into account that today s weaponry is able to blow up the earth out of existence already, your concept is not at all far fetched. Btw, when you say large-scale orbital bombardment, how large do you mean? Are you planning to write hard of somewhat softer (more social based) sci-fi?
     
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  5. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my setting military spacecraft are entirely capable of stationing themselves on the dark side of a moon and bombarding a planet with projectiles, but neither side wants that at all. There are not millions of planets with untold trillions pining for the god-emperor. The story takes place on one planet, with two other planets mentioned. This planet has only two major cities.

    The destructive power of the future is not the inconceivable thing. The inconceivable thing is just the different ways warfare could go. One side uses all remote controlled vehicles. The other side has the outer-most echelon of it's engagement area completely automated with drones. Spacecraft are not large, line battleships setting up for dramatic broadsides against each other. They serve more as force projection platforms and fire support for ground forces. The battle is not just between two different nations, but two military doctrines.

    Another huge factor is the urban setting. Both sides are fighting over a large and culturally significant city, so they refrain from causing collateral damage. When one side does push the line thought, the results are instant, dramatic, horrifying, and frankly, too easy to do. They regret it almost instantly.

    In the end, although I am using real science and "future war" concepts to make my setting 'hard', my story is about a soldier. It is not an exploration and deconstruction of new technology. It is about the people. It is a social story. I want the science to be there, but it is not center stage. I love sci-fi as a setting, but the story could easily take place in a more conventional setting.
     
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  6. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    It doesn't matter if your story could take place in a more conventional setting. If you really think about it all stories could but where's the fun in this? They all speak about human drama or comedy in the bottom line, because they are all written by humans that transmit by this art form their concerns to other humans. It's communication.

    The only difference is that by stretching the story towards something more extreme (fantasy or sci-fi) you can exaggerate in a more poetic or dream-like way your concerns which is a good thing from my perspective, because through this kind of symbolism you can also express meanings and emotions that is impossible to do so in a more conventional way. (Aside the futuristic speculation). There is a reason you were inspired to express your story through the sci-fi genre to begin with. Good luck!
     
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  7. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    It's never too much as long as you find some way to tie it all together. You have to make sure every element affects the plot in relation to everything else so nothing feels irrelevant.

    Hell, I've somehow managed to combine transhumanism, AI ethics, eugenics, early US history, politics, terraforming, and genetically engineered ninja vampires vs pirate werewolves without having anything feel out-of-place. The trick is to have a consistent theme throughout the story.
     
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  8. appledotte
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    appledotte Member

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    I think so long as each element supports the core of your idea then you haven't over done it, and if you have then keep writing until you figure out how to fix it then (depending on how far along you are) rewrite it or just keep writing with your fix in mind and a note to go back and edit the rest. And like Bandag said you managed to say everything in about 20 words, so you're probably fine.
     
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  9. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    I once watched Incredible Hulk punch a planet out of existence, and I found that to be entirely plausible.

    Honestly, restraint is the only thing I find inconceivable. A table of adults all reaching an agreement things can't continue like this, and compromises actually being made? Heresy.

    Everything you've described so far just sounds fun.
     
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  10. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does sound 'fun.' Nice one, get on with it :)
     
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  11. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    From the point of view of WWII, the battlefield of today is inconceivable. From the POV of the American Civil War, the battlefield of WWII was inconceivable. Imagine how a horse soldier felt the first time he faced a tank, or how an archer felt the first time he came up against a cannon or a rifle, or how a caveman felt when he realized his life was being threatened by a sharpened stone.

    As more and more technology is brought to bear against imagined enemies, the more inconceivable becomes war.

    Anything that speaks out against war is a good thing.

    Do what you do. Tell your story. Once you have it sitting there complete and edited, let it stand on its own merits.
     
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  12. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    ...Thanks for summing up my plot... Lol.

    And my perspective of "Too many elements" is simple: There is never too many.

    Sure you can try focusing on a lot at too short a period but worlds/universes are giant and filled with a ton of different things/factions/religious beliefs/technology/etc. which make a world quite rich. Just try not to focus on too many at one time and I am sure you will be fine. If it is important to your book then fit it in in one way or another, just don't choke the reader with content. You can give them a pie, cheeseburger, steak, ice cream, macaroni, etc. but give it to them in small portions if you are giving them a lot. Or split it up between three different meals if you get my drift (three different parts of the book or different chapters).
     
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  13. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well then the race is on, fool! :p
     
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  14. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Good thing I got something to spice up my story. Lol.
     

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