1. Dismas
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    Dismas Member

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    Working through refugee flotilla setting

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Dismas, Aug 21, 2015.

    Alright, so I have an idea for the setting of my first novel.

    First off, this is a Space Opera, and the story is set two years after a great and ultimately genocidal war with an alien species. The setting is a large flotilla of refugee ships from the systems that were hardest hit by the war. The refugees in this flotilla desperately want to land on another planet and rebuild, but other planets (often owned by corporations) do not want the refugees to land.

    Anyway, besides a lack of food, water, and fuel, what other conflicts could one expect in this setting at the personal level?

    How would such a flotilla form and operate? Would someone be in control?

    Finally, how do I make the flottila sound interesting. I'm imaging a bunch of overcrowded ships filled with garbage and waste, malfunctioning machinery and improvised repairs, and the occasional pretty view out the windows. Does this sound interesting?
     
  2. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting is always going to be hit and miss. I don't find the set up that interesting. But that isn't a sign of it being bad. It just isn't my flavor.

    On the note of conflict. Food, Water, Fuel? What more do you need? lol.

    On the note of explaining how it works. Well funny enough that is your job. I don't mean to sound rude here but painting a world with rules is to some degree the point of writing.

    Asking what might we consider reasonable systems of how a chain of command would work? Better question but the point being there is more than one answer. It sounds like this place would have maintanse neeeds. So maybe it is like a boat. A captain labeling those needs and assigning people to handle them.

    Maybe it is like modern Earth. Jobs need to be done. Thus people apply for work in exhange for credit they in-tern use for food, water, ext.

    A good example to explain what I mean incase I haven't yet is this. In my world. I have a country that adopted a warrior like code. As in duels can decide everything. To the point you can murder people in the street and it isn't considered illegal. In addition the entire world isn't like this. Just one nation.

    So it is up to me to explain how they got there. Why they got there and the rules of being there. As long as I do that. I can write in any situation. Just as you can write any form of government or lack of government in your case. you just have to explain questions and ones like it.

    Does that help? :)
     
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  3. BurningPaws
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    BurningPaws Member

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    From someone from Australia, this sounds sorta of like what is going on between the refugees trying to get into Australia on the boats and our Government. One suggestion I might make to you to understand the plight of refugees and what they are experiencing is possibly to research refugees that are currently attempting to go to Australia and are being put into detention. It is extensively documented and I believe that you would possibly get a bit of an insight to what your 'characters' would be feeling. Research can never go wrong.

    Additionally one bit of conflict you might want to consider, if relevant to your story, is the cultural conflict between your refugees, if they are anything like human refugees there would be multiple religions and races on board this ship which immediately is cause for conflict.

    Also, if you wish to include multiple characters and story arcs you could possibly create multiple MCs and create conflict between them all (possibly including love, cultural issues, issues of hierarchy etc) then have the story resolve with all of their arcs coming together.

    Hope that helps :)

    Kind regards

    BurningPaws
     
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  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    As @BurningPaws mentions, Australia has some ongoing experience of "flotillas" of refugees (the impression I get is that it's more like individual boats). There's also the ongoing refugee situation in Europe vis-a-vis Africa/Middle East. Either/both will give you some realism regarding refugees. One particular point - refugees are being "advised" that trying to get into the UK via the channel tunnel is dangerous - they could get killed by being hit by a train...but these are people who have spent most of the last few months in a situation where they could get killed; one more risk of death is no biggy!

    You might try looking at the traveller/romany community for a different perspective. They travel, settle in a place for a while, trade/work for the money to live, and then move on. But they're rarely welcomed, often under pressure to move on. A bit like a flotilla of refugees.

    As for someone being in control...obviously, there will be a captain of the ship, and a commodore/admiral of the flotilla...but it won't be under strict military discipline because most of these guys never signed up. They'll NEED a strong leader, but they won't just ACCEPT his leadership. And with shortages, there WILL be conflicts.
     
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  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Have you watched Battlestar Galactica? Plenty of brainstorming material there.

    Essentially any conflict in society back on a planet can be in evidence on a space ship.
     
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  6. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Their biggest problem is going to be spare parts. They will rapidly become critical. Possibly a basis for inter ship trade. The most militarily powerful ship will probably end up leading, but it could be a loose confederation, each ship like a small city state.
     
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  7. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Also, when people are confined to very close quarters for long periods of time, conflict tends to create itself. Tempers flare, factions form, and people become desperate for a way out. This means you could have some interesting dynamics between people who are aggressively seeking a better situation - perhaps suggesting they find a way to illegally enter one planet or another- and you have others who would rather take a more passive and diplomatic approach. You might have still others who are fearful to ever leave the floatilla, worried that wherever they land might be just as bad as where they've come from.

    Someone also mentioned religions coming into conflict. That would be major as well. If these are people from an entire planet, they aren't going to all share the same culture. Imagine people from all over Planet earth floating around space together. Not even everyone is going to speak the same language. Different ships could become little microcosms of their original countires (think of like a ship that all the Latin Americans congregate in, and another that all the Japenese gravitate to.) I think people would draw to the familiar, to the culture they know best. That could create tension among the different ships as it becomes more about race.

    Basically, there is the much bigger issue that everyone has in common: finding a home. At first, that is everyone's goal and intent. But the longer their limbo drags on, the more they are going to lose sight of that goal and start to focus on the smaller day-to-day problems that arise between people who can't get away from each other.
     
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  8. Dismas
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    Dismas Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I'll be sure to research the experiences of Australian refugees, it sounds a lot like what i'm considering for my novel. I'm also going to see what I can find out about the current European refugee crisis.

    I hadn't thought about cultural clashes yet, because my world is "united" under th government of the UN. But the more I think about it, that wouldn't stop the development of unique cultures on different planets. Another cultural clash might be between civilian refugees and war veterans, or between everyone else and deserters.

    I was also thinking that perhaps there could be conflict between what kind of concessions the regugees should make to gain enterance to a world, or what kind of world they're willing to settle on. The vast majority would want to go to the richer, earth like enviorns of the core, most settled worlds, but external forces might try to pressure them to accept settlement on harsh worlds or force to them to engage in unsavory labor.

    Thanks for the feedbakc, again guys, you've given me a lot to think about :)
     
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