1. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Working on a sci-fi plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Chinspinner, Dec 2, 2014.

    I thought I would outline the plot I am currently developing in case anyone wants to offer any suggestions to assist me along the way.

    It will be a hard sci-fi, small-scale space opera set between earth and two nearby (circa 12 ly away) main sequence stars. The following forms my main criteria: -

    1) It will have realistic sub-light speed travel times and time dilation. Travel to the the planets will take circa 25 years Planet Time and 15 years Ship Time. Human lifespans will have increased by a reasonable amount (say to 150 or so) and there will be Induced Hibernation.

    2) It will involve technology and science that is achievable (although I will have to stretch this requirement a little). As such travel will be via sail craft accelerated/ decelerated by lasers in orbit around the three suns (and lenses along the route). Importantly interstellar travel must be a difficult and dangerous thing.

    3) Alien planets must incorporate realistic evolution. I will be relying upon convergent evolution to make them (sort of) humanoid, largely for the ease of expressing emotions etc. without having to describe many alien limbs and tentacles in detail. Both sets of aliens will be more advanced than humans and will have shared some technology.

    The plot will commence on each of the alien planets with Earth Ambassadors (Tau Ceti and Epsilon Indi).

    Tau Ceti will prove to have a growing political movement that is aggressive towards earth. The start of the story will involve a murder of one of the Ambassadors assistance, followed by the uncovering of a conspiracy to attack earth, followed by the massacre of the Ambassador and his staff before the alien fleet sets out.

    Upon Epsilon Indi (a predator race) the Ambassador will be due to return home on one of the alien ships with a number of the aliens who have chosen to visit earth. These aliens are predatorial and on the surface warlike.

    The plot will then jump to various periods out of Induced Hibernation on the ship, as well as certain events on earth over the following 25 years. The Tau Ceti armada will arrive at earth and the attack will begin.

    The Epsilon Indi ship will hear news of the attack and rather than decelerate using the laser arrays they undertake a near-light fly past firing off all munitions at the invaders. They are either then destined to float on until death or may have some sort of lifeboat function and the battle continue on earth. I am undecided on this as I have not detailed the plot this far.

    Please share any thoughts or suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  2. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sail craft? in space with no wind? unless im misinterpreting your description that doesn't quite make sense. I think under acceleration in space the only benefit would be reduced weight, adding a sail doesn't do that. Also i'd like some more clarification on the lasers accelerating the spacecraft. How and why lasers? are these just power sources or actually new tech that physically speeds up the craft.

    I'd be cool to see where you take the evolution stuff, maybe some sort of common ancestor to explain the similarities.

    The alien attack plot sounds a bit cliché, it can work but i would personally like to see something more in depth/ulterior motive towards the destruction on earth rather than the usual 'we hate them, they're different or we want their resources' etc etc

    The Epsilon Indi stuff is interesting but i was a bit confused as to what happened, they flew past the invaders and attacked and are now doomed to drift in space? why? what advantage did it give them? was their a point?

    I'm not criticising here im just asking some questions that piqued my interest, im a fan of sci fi so this is kinda my area of expertise (if you can call fumbling around my own stories as expertise)

    btw assistant not assistance :p
     
  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cheers for the reply. I have responded in bold above.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  4. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah i see so beam powered acceleration. I see now. For some reason i had images of large steampunk style ships....you can see why i was dubious!

    I disagree about evolution, i think the reason we see it that way is because we are dominant and have effectively killed off or stunted most animals (including our own) evolution. A aquatic animal for instance could develop and live underwater in vast cities, considering its larger than the available landmass it seems logical. It's just one of many routes you could take. I mean less gravity and your new civilisations could live in floating cities. Just a few thoughts.

    In terms of plot (im a sucker for plot twists) i'd like to see the Tau ceti folk attack earth to provoke a reaction (the reaction they had by attacking) from the Epsilon Indi people and undermine any agreement/peace treaty they had thus starting a war or something to that effect.

    Out of curiosity is the main protagonist on this Epsilon Indi ship?
     
  5. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The problem with aqua-men is the huge difficulties involved in getting into space or undertaking any industry or manufacturing process (even the most basic) if you are a sea creature. I do want to create a fantastical world (or two) but within the realms of something earth-like.

    Thus far my general idea is that Epsilonians (Epsilon Indi) will be a predator race with silver eyes and metallic teeth. They will also have cartilaginous forearms and hands which role back to reveal metallic appendages for fighting as well as metallic teeth. They will be tattooed extensively to denote their individual physical prowess. These are the good guys but in the first Act you may not be so sure as they consider humans to be prey-like.

    The Cetians (Tau Ceti) are to be more ethereal. They will have some sort of a veiled appearance (beneath which they are going to be ugly buggers but rarely glimpsed). I think they will be venomous.

    I am still working on both though, and I need to retain enough human characteristics that the reader can empathise with the individual characters.

    There will be several protagonists. The first will be on Tau Ceti and will be human with Cetian allies, but they will all die at the end of the first Act.

    The second will be a human on Epsilon Indi with a family and several Epsilonian friends. They will be on the craft travelling back to earth.

    These are the only characters I have developed to date.

    I like the twist and think it would work; however, I want some conflict between human cowardice and self-preservation, and the Epsilonian willingness to fight in defence of their allies, and this might undermine it.

    The 25 year travel duration means that the Epsilonian ship is the only one in proximity to earth. Of course, being a predator race it will be a fighting ship.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  6. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like those descriptions, id be interested to see where you take it. Also the i'd like to see what you do with the different worlds, making a world fantastical yet similar is a difficult task!

    In terms of the human cowardice (i like this, i get bored of the human "hollywood" bravery bull***) and the Epsilonian's wanting to defend them you could do something along the lines of them stretching their resources and suffering much more casualties etc etc in order to help the humans? or even lose their home planet and have to find another (could be an idea that ties in with a sequel)

    You could also go with the them helping the humans tech wise, weapons etc and have them hold out long enough for the full fleet to arrive and wipe out the tau folk? that would also tie in with another scenario where you cold have the tau people planning for it and when the full fleet rushes to help a second tau fleet attack their home planet? (or even the initial tau fleet have created someone to travel faster than light and return to attack the epsilonians home planet whilst theyre still in travel)

    apologies for the plot vomit there, my imagination goes a bit nuts with this stuff sometimes.
     
  7. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly this, with regard to the technological assistance. They will have provided the schematics for the laser array and sail ships at first contact. Humans will be at a technological disadvantage to both races.

    I slightly like the idea of one race (the Epsilonians) having a huge technological advantage but keeping this fact up my sleeve until the end of the final Act, such that their one ship simply wipes out the enemy fleet in one suicide run. But the idea of forcing a stale mate until reinforcements arrive is a good one, it is just that in trying to retain some feasibility the timescales involved are too large (i.e. 25 years travel time and 12 years communication time at ls).

    Beforehand the Epsilonian Earth ambassador and entourage might have been pivotal in the defence of earth.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    maskedhero likes this.
  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is effectively the idea of the laser. It will allow the equivalent of a solar sail craft to operate at much larger distances.
     
  10. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry I should have mentioned that FTL is impossible and a semblance of realism is a major anchor point of my plot.
     
  11. Karwedsky
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    The aqua-men didn't have to necessarily evolve in the oceans. If the beings that now inhabit the oceans had evolved on the surface of the planet, then moved to ocean habitats because of some ecological reasons, then the required ocean habitats wouldn't be that far off of what would be needed technologically for space vessels. Both would need to be self-contained and able to withstand quite extreme environments, while maintaining a livable atmosphere for the residents.
     
  12. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wouldn't they wind up looking like dolphins/ whales?
    I think I could work my way around aquatic creatures, I just honestly don't believe that ocean creatures are likely to be able to manipulate the world around them in a manner required to make that jump to human-type intelligence; unless we look at something octopus-like, that would work.
     

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