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Media => Member Creations => Topic started by: Desert Fox on April 19, 2017, 09:07:20 PM

Title: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 19, 2017, 09:07:20 PM
Staring this as a new thread where I may ask periodic ideas

Working on a science fiction story and this came up in my mind:
There are a few series that allow have armed civilian vessels. Good example is the Honor Harrington series where passenger liners carry the weaponry of a heavy cruiser. I believe the same s the case with the Starfire novels. There is also Star Wars which allows armed merchant vessels such as the Millennium Falcon. I don't believe Firefly though however allows such ships, considering them too dangerous.

I am working on a story where the main character are in a converted corvette which while stripped of some of its weaponry, it is still armed. For example, it has light anti-ship particle beams and it has missiles but no warheads on the missiles. The mass and velocity of a connecting missile would destroy any unprotected target. Warships do however have various protections, namely a gravity wall in front of the ship which bends particle beams and in most cases will shred missiles. Nukes try to penetrate the wall in order to damage the ship.

There are semi-lawless areas where a ship might need to be armed and sometimes they might want to visit more settled areas to get cargoes to carry to those more lawless areas. Those more settled areas would need some rules / laws on how they treat such vessels. I am sure some systems would simply not allow them to approach the system and maybe even shoot on sight in some extremely paranoid powers.

What are other options though? Thinking maybe a customs inspection that makes sure that they don't at least have any nukes on board? How close would they allow the ship to get to their world? I can also see that there would always be a risk as well with the visit of warships from other navies as well.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 19, 2017, 10:54:56 PM
You could have customs "seal" the weapons. If the seal is broken the ship is subject to confiscation. You don't have to explain how that's done any more than you would explain the individual steps required to get an automobile on the highway, people understand the concept of a "seal", truckers have numbered seals on their cargo containers, etc.

Customs would justify their jobs by making a thorough check of the ship and sealing any and all weapons found. (This could be put forth in a grumbled monologue by a crewman who has been to this system before.)

You could also have customs mount a "kill  switch" that disables the ship's drive if the vessel is suspected of being up to no good. Getting around that one would take a few pages of text.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 20, 2017, 12:16:18 AM
It occurs to me that the fact that a missile, even without a warhead, would cause massive amounts of devastation if fired from space. Sufficiently paranoid civilisations might not want them anywhere near their solar system. They'd probably have this customs check far out in space, which means that they've got that much more space to cover. They'd need to automate it.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 20, 2017, 01:41:21 AM
I have written some extensive rules. . . .

I just calculated and a missile hitting the target at or after drive burnout would strike with about 1559813.8 joules of energy or about 3.73 megatons of TNT. Missiles are not world killers. That is using the full mass of the missile and assuming that it loses half that mass, it would hit with about 1.8 megatons on energy.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Caffiene on April 20, 2017, 05:36:19 AM
I have written some extensive rules. . . .

I just calculated and a missile hitting the target at or after drive burnout would strike with about 1559813.8 joules of energy or about 3.73 megatons of TNT.

Is that including gravitational acceleration, and potential gravitational slingshot? Most sci fi settings would make the calculation of a slingshot-assisted trajectory for a kinetic based weapon pretty trivial.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 20, 2017, 06:15:24 AM
I have written some extensive rules. . . .

I just calculated and a missile hitting the target at or after drive burnout would strike with about 1559813.8 joules of energy or about 3.73 megatons of TNT.

Is that including gravitational acceleration, and potential gravitational slingshot? Most sci fi settings would make the calculation of a slingshot-assisted trajectory for a kinetic based weapon pretty trivial.

No, that is assuming a launch from rest not from an already fast moving starship. Slingshotting probably will not add much though.  The issue is that starships are far more massive and already make world killer weapons. We have issues already today where airliners and truck boms can be devastating though.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Caffiene on April 20, 2017, 07:28:26 AM
The issue is that starships are far more massive and already make world killer weapons.

True. Although I guess in some ways its a different concern than something that would be dealt with by customs, since only a very small proportion of attacks would come from suicide bombers (depending on the cultures in your setting) - crashing a starship would generally be an empty ship or unmanned drone (especially if technological advances in autopilot make suicide irrelevant to the practicality of the attack anyway) so piloted ships wouldnt generally be inspected with that suspicion, an inspection or other preventative measure against manned ships would be more targeted at onboard weapons.

Does bring up the point that with starships being so dangerous, youd expect an unmanned or unresponsive ship moving in local space to be approached with prejudice.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 20, 2017, 07:54:57 AM
I would think that an (apparently) unmanned spaceship would constitute an emergency until it was proven not to be a hazard.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 20, 2017, 02:11:42 PM
Merchant ships would almost certainly have beacons transmitting "Here I am." Not having a beacon active would likely be a serious issue.

Ships travel between systems through Wormholes and there is no actual FTL travel except using them. Most wormholes are mapped in such areas - there may be a freak one in a strange place which is unknown.

In major systems, there are almost certainly tracking satellites in position near the wormholes to track targets entering wormholes. A ship would get marked at that point and tracked at all times. If a ship came through a wormhole without a beacon, that would immediately set up a system wide alert.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 20, 2017, 02:21:43 PM
Merchant ships would almost certainly have beacons transmitting "Here I am." Not having a beacon active would likely be a serious issue. 
I would think they would have beacons that responded to a pre-arranged signal, not continuously. Only the Space Guard would have the key to make them respond. Otherwise pirates could find them easily. (Kimball Kinnison can't be everywhere, you know.)
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 20, 2017, 02:26:03 PM
Merchant ships would almost certainly have beacons transmitting "Here I am." Not having a beacon active would likely be a serious issue. 
I would think they would have beacons that responded to a pre-arranged signal, not continuously. Only the Space Guard would have the key to make them respond. Otherwise pirates could find them easily. (Kimball Kinnison can't be everywhere, you know.)

There is no unified space guard. . . .There are multi-system powers but there are also a number of independent systems as well.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 20, 2017, 09:28:13 PM
I have written some extensive rules. . . .

I just calculated and a missile hitting the target at or after drive burnout would strike with about 1559813.8 joules of energy or about 3.73 megatons of TNT. Missiles are not world killers. That is using the full mass of the missile and assuming that it loses half that mass, it would hit with about 1.8 megatons on energy.
That's still enough to take out a small city. And ships are likely to carry many such missiles.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 20, 2017, 09:35:08 PM
Merchant ships would almost certainly have beacons transmitting "Here I am." Not having a beacon active would likely be a serious issue. 
I would think they would have beacons that responded to a pre-arranged signal, not continuously. Only the Space Guard would have the key to make them respond. Otherwise pirates could find them easily. (Kimball Kinnison can't be everywhere, you know.)

There is no unified space guard. . . .There are multi-system powers but there are also a number of independent systems as well.
Wasn't thinking Galactic Patrol, just a way to keep track of ships in-system.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Gerbig on April 20, 2017, 10:05:03 PM
EMP lamprey ships.

They magnetically tap into the host ships computer system and monitors all weapons systems, if a weapons system is found to be activated without due permission and approval, an Electromagnetic pulse wave is generated by the lamprey ship, causing the host ships weapons systems to be disabled.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Gerbig on April 20, 2017, 10:09:16 PM
Perhaps a Mutually assured destruction lock?

When the ship comes in range a designated satellite is assigned to aim at the ship, if the ship destroys any of the satellite stations on the planet, a deadmans switch is closed and the satellite destroys the attacking ship.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 20, 2017, 10:28:01 PM
That's reactive, but I think a sufficiently paranoid planet would want something proactive as well.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Gerbig on April 20, 2017, 10:51:36 PM
Alright, ready for some super sci-fi babble?


4-dimension quantum trackers.

A technology borrowed from an alien race, in order to track and warn about weapon above class 8 destruction potential (including nukes). These bizarre extraterrestrial computer systems are designed to travel the universe seeking class 8+ weapons, and locking onto them in the 4th dimension when they find them. This ensures ships without 4D access tech cannot detect or remove the tracker once it is attached. They tend to surround solar systems containing organic life or important territories and are able to search new ships that enter the solar system within hours of them entering. A receiver on nearby planets will be updated on all new nearby class 8+ weapons.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 21, 2017, 04:45:44 AM
I think that idea goes a little far.

One item, while I realize that it potentially violates physics, a ship going through a Wormhole loses almost all of its velocity and the ship's direction on entering the wormhole does not necessarily correlate with the direction exiting.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 21, 2017, 04:22:40 PM
Ships tend to be on the small side in my universe with destroyers only being around 15 k metric tons in mass.

I am curious if such a vessel should use a customs boat or have to make a hard dock for customs inspection?

In comparison, the US Legend class coat guard cutter (frigate sized) has a special small boat ramp on the stern for launching small boats for boarding. One option I am thinking is a special customs destroyer which gives up a bit of firepower for carrying a couple of customs shuttles.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 23, 2017, 12:47:55 AM
Question on star systems. . . .Do you think all star systems have a lot left over stuff from star formation? If a ship visits a red dwarf system, there will always be a fair amount of rocks. My understanding is that red dwarf stars did not form in early star formation so there would be some heavier elements at least. 
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 23, 2017, 12:54:38 AM
I think that the universe is big and varied enough that the answer to this question is "if you want them to, sure".

I doubt anyone would complain.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 23, 2017, 01:25:46 AM
I am attempting to model star systems as well as possible to what current understanding is.

Vast majority of star systems are red dwarf systems and ships have to spend a fair amount of time transiting such systems to get to another wormhole.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 23, 2017, 07:13:34 AM
Question on star systems. . . .Do you think all star systems have a lot left over stuff from star formation? If a ship visits a red dwarf system, there will always be a fair amount of rocks. My understanding is that red dwarf stars did not form in early star formation so there would be some heavier elements at least.
Depends on the gravity well, I think. Betelgeuse may have sucked up everything around it already.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 23, 2017, 02:14:14 PM
Question on star systems. . . .Do you think all star systems have a lot left over stuff from star formation? If a ship visits a red dwarf system, there will always be a fair amount of rocks. My understanding is that red dwarf stars did not form in early star formation so there would be some heavier elements at least.
Depends on the gravity well, I think. Betelgeuse may have sucked up everything around it already.

High gravity stars likely to have little stuff in orbit?
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 23, 2017, 05:53:02 PM
Question on star systems. . . .Do you think all star systems have a lot left over stuff from star formation? If a ship visits a red dwarf system, there will always be a fair amount of rocks. My understanding is that red dwarf stars did not form in early star formation so there would be some heavier elements at least.
Depends on the gravity well, I think. Betelgeuse may have sucked up everything around it already.

High gravity stars likely to have little stuff in orbit?
Whatever doesn't have the orbital velocity to stay away from the star would be pulled in. Bigger the star, the higher the velocity  would have to be.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 23, 2017, 05:55:07 PM
I wonder then if Red Dwarfs would have the most "junk"
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 23, 2017, 06:00:23 PM
I wonder then if Red Dwarfs would have the most "junk"
Smaller star, small well. Anything not in that well would wander off.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 23, 2017, 06:02:36 PM
I wonder then if Red Dwarfs would have the most "junk"
Smaller star, small well. Anything not in that well would wander off.

Is there any modelling of debris around stars. . . .Interesting if there is a zone of mass likely to have planets or not.

I am sorry but when compared to the Sun, all the planets around it are basically debris.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 23, 2017, 06:15:03 PM
Is there any modelling of debris around stars. . . .Interesting if there is a zone of mass likely to have planets or not.
It's rather simple. If a mass had the velocity to escape the well then it "moves on". I understand that there may be more planets that don't circle stars than ones that do. If it doesn't have the velocity maintain an orbit it falls into the star, eventually. The lucky ones find their orbit and pretty much stay there.
Quote
I am sorry but when compared to the Sun, all the planets around it are basically debris.
Yeah, either matter with orbital velocity from the original accretion cloud or things captured as they flirted with the star's well.

Fun thought: How many comet made only one dive at the sun? The ones that didn't achieve a long elliptical orbit either got flung out of the solar system permanently or dove into the start.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 23, 2017, 08:56:16 PM
Question on star systems. . . .Do you think all star systems have a lot left over stuff from star formation? If a ship visits a red dwarf system, there will always be a fair amount of rocks. My understanding is that red dwarf stars did not form in early star formation so there would be some heavier elements at least.
Depends on the gravity well, I think. Betelgeuse may have sucked up everything around it already.

High gravity stars likely to have little stuff in orbit?

Technically, high mass. Everything has the same gravity.  ;D

And though I'm not an astrophysicist, I don't think this is correct. Higher mass stars will exert a gravitational influence over a larger area, but I don't think that the density of debris in that area would be any higher than the density of debris around a lower mass star.

Could be wrong about that, though.

This is why I write fantasy. I don't have to worry about getting details like this right.  :D
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 25, 2017, 06:54:28 PM
I need a bit of help with calculating something
Assume that a G class star usually has its wormholes at 5 light hours
If we assume that it is based on the forces of the sun's gravity at Pluto orbit, any way to calculate it for other star classes?
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 27, 2017, 08:30:19 AM
Question with a boarding party - Assuming that said ship enters a system and is boarded, how heavily armed would the boarding party be?
I can see going a lot of different ways - just uniform with side arm up to wearing vacuum suits with clam shell armor over the top and carrying carbines (heavy personal are electromagnetic projectile weapons).
The system that the ship is in has unfriendly neighbors but at least pretends civility.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 27, 2017, 06:50:05 PM
Question with a boarding party - Assuming that said ship enters a system and is boarded, how heavily armed would the boarding party be?
I can see going a lot of different ways - just uniform with side arm up to wearing vacuum suits with clam shell armor over the top and carrying carbines (heavy personal are electromagnetic projectile weapons).
The system that the ship is in has unfriendly neighbors but at least pretends civility.
Grey Lensman has some heavy-duty boarding party action. The opening scenes from "Star Wars E. IV" goes the light-weight route. "Harlock: Space Pirate" does the anime proud. "Star Trek: Beyond" has the Big E being boarded by armored spacy whosits.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 27, 2017, 08:54:56 PM
I should have specified that it is a system navy doing the boarding and is it at least suppose to be a friendly boarding.
US Customs boarding foreign vessels is usually only armed with a sidearm and Coast guard may or not be armed when boarding.
I went with the sidearm and vacuum suit direction.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Caffiene on April 27, 2017, 09:20:57 PM
I went with the sidearm and vacuum suit direction.

Yeah Id be inclined towards either sidearms only, or a diplomatic type official who is unarmed/sidearm with an armed "guard", but with more firepower on either the boarding vessel or other vessel in the vicinity in case things go bad.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2017, 04:16:23 AM
I went with the sidearm and vacuum suit direction.

Yeah Id be inclined towards either sidearms only, or a diplomatic type official who is unarmed/sidearm with an armed "guard", but with more firepower on either the boarding vessel or other vessel in the vicinity in case things go bad.

In this case, you have the destroyer sitting back with big guns backing up the customs shuttles.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 28, 2017, 09:55:23 AM
I went with the sidearm and vacuum suit direction.

Yeah Id be inclined towards either sidearms only, or a diplomatic type official who is unarmed/sidearm with an armed "guard", but with more firepower on either the boarding vessel or other vessel in the vicinity in case things go bad.

In this case, you have the destroyer sitting back with big guns backing up the customs shuttles.
Is there a downside as well?  >:D
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: 2397 on April 28, 2017, 12:31:45 PM
I was going to say if you were looking to steal someone's spaceship, I'd try to vent their entire atmosphere first.

If they're boarding to inspect, and need to be prepared for a violent confrontation, then I think that that would be a likely approach for either side to take. Firing at the ship at strategic points, or releasing the trigger to evacuate the atmosphere in the relevant areas. Even if they're in suits, they're going to be left extremely vulnerable to anything that can puncture it.

Would their sidearms be equally usable within and without an atmosphere?
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2017, 02:39:35 PM
First off, you do realize that I could shoot a modern firearm just fine in space?
The complete round has its own oxidizer
http://www.livescience.com/18588-shoot-gun-space.html

Military weapons though tend to be electromagnetic projectile weapons which fire at much higher velocities than modern weapons. I don't have lasers or "ray guns" however. Ships use particle beams and missiles, no lasers either.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: 2397 on April 28, 2017, 02:55:31 PM
Sure. It wasn't a rhetorical question.

Though specifically shooting a gun is one aspect of it, and there might be reasons why you would have different sets of weapons. Some that may become apparent over time rather than with each shot. And maybe there are circumstances where you wouldn't want to be shooting projectiles at all.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2017, 03:04:14 PM
Sure. It wasn't a rhetorical question.

Though specifically shooting a gun is one aspect of it, and there might be reasons why you would have different sets of weapons. Some that may become apparent over time rather than with each shot. And maybe there are circumstances where you wouldn't want to be shooting projectiles at all.

As far putting holes in the hull, that is a risk, but you could plug the hole with something like that spray foam you use for household tasks. The formula might be a little different but it would be similar.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 28, 2017, 03:07:19 PM
Sure. It wasn't a rhetorical question.

Though specifically shooting a gun is one aspect of it, and there might be reasons why you would have different sets of weapons. Some that may become apparent over time rather than with each shot. And maybe there are circumstances where you wouldn't want to be shooting projectiles at all.

As far putting holes in the hull, that is a risk, but you could plug the hole with something like that spray foam you use for household tasks. The formula might be a little different but it would be similar.
Or carry rolls of carbon fiber with adhesive on it.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2017, 03:23:32 PM
Sure. It wasn't a rhetorical question.

Though specifically shooting a gun is one aspect of it, and there might be reasons why you would have different sets of weapons. Some that may become apparent over time rather than with each shot. And maybe there are circumstances where you wouldn't want to be shooting projectiles at all.

As far putting holes in the hull, that is a risk, but you could plug the hole with something like that spray foam you use for household tasks. The formula might be a little different but it would be similar.
Or carry rolls of carbon fiber with adhesive on it.

In any case, far easier to patch than a navy ship at sea.
Ever go to USS Buttercup?
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 28, 2017, 04:41:11 PM
Sure. It wasn't a rhetorical question.

Though specifically shooting a gun is one aspect of it, and there might be reasons why you would have different sets of weapons. Some that may become apparent over time rather than with each shot. And maybe there are circumstances where you wouldn't want to be shooting projectiles at all.

As far putting holes in the hull, that is a risk, but you could plug the hole with something like that spray foam you use for household tasks. The formula might be a little different but it would be similar.
Or carry rolls of carbon fiber with adhesive on it.

In any case, far easier to patch than a navy ship at sea.
Ever go to USS Buttercup?
I did firefighting in Norfolk, wayyyyyy back when. DC training was at Gitmo.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2017, 05:30:49 PM
I will say that writing before word processors must have been interesting.

Some of what I have been writing starts out as just a description. I then decide to change it and allow the stuff to be introduced as conversation.  Doing that with a typewriter must have been interesting.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 28, 2017, 05:43:41 PM
I will say that writing before word processors must have been interesting.

Some of what I have been writing starts out as just a description. I then decide to change it and allow the stuff to be introduced as conversation.  Doing that with a typewriter must have been interesting.
This is why galleys were double-spaced. Editing and "rewriting" were shoved into the interstitial areas.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 29, 2017, 02:41:01 AM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 29, 2017, 04:14:18 AM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on. 
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 29, 2017, 08:16:31 AM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
I've used Word and similar since 1986. Never, ever, going back to pen and ink for writing. I carry a pocket-size notebook for jotting things down, my "paper memory bank" as Boss Lady put is.

Having said that, word processors have their own traps.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: 2397 on April 29, 2017, 08:34:13 AM
Backup backup backup.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 29, 2017, 08:36:07 AM
Backup backup backup.
Said the wife to the husband as she was aiming the camera with the Grand Canyon in the background.  8)
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 29, 2017, 07:44:41 PM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense. But I seem to just be better at it with a pen, and now it's kind of become a thing.

The second step of course is to transcribe it all into a word processor. And that's my first pass edit.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 29, 2017, 07:58:40 PM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense. But I seem to just be better at it with a pen, and now it's kind of become a thing.

The second step of course is to transcribe it all into a word processor. And that's my first pass edit.
You can read it out loud to your computer these days. Useful for some dramatic scenes. I record mine and pay the recordings back to my VocRec program while I'm doing something else.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 29, 2017, 08:16:43 PM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense. But I seem to just be better at it with a pen, and now it's kind of become a thing.

The second step of course is to transcribe it all into a word processor. And that's my first pass edit.
You can read it out loud to your computer these days. Useful for some dramatic scenes. I record mine and pay the recordings back to my VocRec program while I'm doing something else.
Yeah, that doesn't work for me. For a start I feel ridiculous talking out loud when I'm on my own, and when I'm not on my own I feel ridiculous. Also, I don't think out loud. I think better in writing than I do talking. Sometimes. It depends. Regardless, I've got something that kind of works, and that's better than I was doing before. :)
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 29, 2017, 08:35:54 PM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense. But I seem to just be better at it with a pen, and now it's kind of become a thing.

The second step of course is to transcribe it all into a word processor. And that's my first pass edit.
You can read it out loud to your computer these days. Useful for some dramatic scenes. I record mine and pay the recordings back to my VocRec program while I'm doing something else.
Yeah, that doesn't work for me. For a start I feel ridiculous talking out loud when I'm on my own, and when I'm not on my own I feel ridiculous. Also, I don't think out loud. I think better in writing than I do talking. Sometimes. It depends. Regardless, I've got something that kind of works, and that's better than I was doing before. :)
Sorry, but it works for me so it has to be the perfect solution for you. I know, I read it on the Internet.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on April 29, 2017, 08:38:03 PM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense. But I seem to just be better at it with a pen, and now it's kind of become a thing.

The second step of course is to transcribe it all into a word processor. And that's my first pass edit.
You can read it out loud to your computer these days. Useful for some dramatic scenes. I record mine and pay the recordings back to my VocRec program while I'm doing something else.
Yeah, that doesn't work for me. For a start I feel ridiculous talking out loud when I'm on my own, and when I'm not on my own I feel ridiculous. Also, I don't think out loud. I think better in writing than I do talking. Sometimes. It depends. Regardless, I've got something that kind of works, and that's better than I was doing before. :)
Sorry, but it works for me so it has to be the perfect solution for you. I know, I read it on the Internet.
How dare you have an opinion!
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 29, 2017, 08:40:50 PM
I write longhand. With literal pen and paper. I've written 25k+ words of my fantasy novel in exercise books. I've even killed a ballpoint pen doing it.

I have written in that fashion in the past. Just much easier to use a word processor, especially on the science fiction, I am working on.
Yeah, I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense. But I seem to just be better at it with a pen, and now it's kind of become a thing.

The second step of course is to transcribe it all into a word processor. And that's my first pass edit.
You can read it out loud to your computer these days. Useful for some dramatic scenes. I record mine and pay the recordings back to my VocRec program while I'm doing something else.
Yeah, that doesn't work for me. For a start I feel ridiculous talking out loud when I'm on my own, and when I'm not on my own I feel ridiculous. Also, I don't think out loud. I think better in writing than I do talking. Sometimes. It depends. Regardless, I've got something that kind of works, and that's better than I was doing before. :)
Sorry, but it works for me so it has to be the perfect solution for you. I know, I read it on the Internet.
How dare you have an opinion!
"When I want your opinion I'll beat it out of you!"
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on May 09, 2017, 06:18:07 PM
In Star Trek especially but I believe the same thing is seem in Star Wars, Babylon 5, and old Battlestar Galactica, all of the regular hatchways are powered. I understand that in some cases hatchways may be too massive to easily manhandle such a a large cargo door and having that power makes a lot of sense.

Still, something like what Navy ships use today are simple and reliable. If power fails, they will still work. They can also hold the pressure of seawater under normal conditions which is greater than the pressure which the hatch would be subject through if exposed to vacuum. Also, the way a hatch on a ship works is that at one direction, water pressure would keep the hatch closed, something you will not have with a sliding door / hatch.

Powered hatches also often slide into the wall or ceiling, requiring internal space there as well. A manual hatch requires far less volume. My experience with powered gates / doors is that they are a bear when not powered.

So what are thoughts on the actual practicality of powered hatches on starships, especially on the small scale? I am going to be making them very rare with most hatches being manual.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on May 09, 2017, 09:21:36 PM
I'm of the opinion that in the future, power generation will be decentralised. Every device will have its own power source and isn't dependent on any other source, or for that matter on infrastructure designed to transfer power from the source to the device.

When every door has its own cheap fusion battery, you don't have to worry about whether a loss of power to the drives will affect your ability to get around the ship.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on May 09, 2017, 09:29:22 PM
This is a military term called KISS

Keep
It
Simple
Stupid.

Every layer of unneeded complexity adds problems.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on May 09, 2017, 09:57:40 PM
Which is why a simple fusion battery in every device is much more reliable than having multiple interacting power distribution systems. :D

And it means that consoles are less likely to explode in showers of sparks when you get hit by a torpedo.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on May 09, 2017, 11:45:00 PM
Which is why a simple fusion battery in every device is much more reliable than having multiple interacting power distribution systems. :D

And it means that consoles are less likely to explode in showers of sparks when you get hit by a torpedo.

Only Star Trek has exploding consoles
Assuming that power systems need maintenance, every separate system will add to complexity.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on May 10, 2017, 02:20:34 AM
Which is why a simple fusion battery in every device is much more reliable than having multiple interacting power distribution systems. :D

And it means that consoles are less likely to explode in showers of sparks when you get hit by a torpedo.

Only Star Trek has exploding consoles
Assuming that power systems need maintenance, every separate system will add to complexity.
Yeah, it's a bit of a characteristic conceit of my future vision that power systems are as easy and simple to maintain as batteries, but virtually perpetual.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on May 13, 2017, 07:04:45 PM
Faster than light travel in my science fiction is by jumping through wormholes which are form through some kind of gravity interaction with the stars and the rest of the universe.
They tend to form on a G2 class star somewhere around Pluto orbit or around 6 light hours out.
Smaller stars they form closer in while larger stars form further out.

Now what I am curious about is assume that a star is around 8 solar masses.
It has wormholes really far out as one might expect. Probably be something like 45 light hours out from the star.

An 8 solar mass star can go super nova and leaves a core of several solar masses behind.
This then becomes a neutron star.

What should I have happen with wormholes around the neutron star? I am not too worried about black holes because I believe that neutron stars are far more common.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on May 28, 2017, 08:24:42 PM
I have a general writing question. When there is a conversation and a lot of one liners, (for example: Jack says, "the Earth is flat." Jane responds, "No it is not!") are you suppose to start a new paragraph whenever you switch speakers. That is what I remember being taught but in some novels, I don't see the authors doing that.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: 2397 on May 28, 2017, 08:32:58 PM
I'd say go for whichever feels like it flows better.

Then get a second opinion.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on May 28, 2017, 08:43:54 PM
I have a general writing question. When there is a conversation and a lot of one liners, (for example: Jack says, "the Earth is flat." Jane responds, "No it is not!") are you suppose to start a new paragraph whenever you switch speakers. That is what I remember being taught but in some novels, I don't see the authors doing that.
Yes, when you switch speakers, you generally start a new paragraph. That's the rule.

Of course it's totally okay to break this rule when you have a dramatic and/or stylistic reason for doing so.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on May 28, 2017, 08:55:36 PM
I have a general writing question. When there is a conversation and a lot of one liners, (for example: Jack says, "the Earth is flat." Jane responds, "No it is not!") are you suppose to start a new paragraph whenever you switch speakers. That is what I remember being taught but in some novels, I don't see the authors doing that.
Yes, when you switch speakers, you generally start a new paragraph. That's the rule.

Of course it's totally okay to break this rule when you have a dramatic and/or stylistic reason for doing so.

OK, at least I remember right  :-[
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: arthwollipot on May 28, 2017, 09:14:20 PM
I have a general writing question. When there is a conversation and a lot of one liners, (for example: Jack says, "the Earth is flat." Jane responds, "No it is not!") are you suppose to start a new paragraph whenever you switch speakers. That is what I remember being taught but in some novels, I don't see the authors doing that.
Yes, when you switch speakers, you generally start a new paragraph. That's the rule.

Of course it's totally okay to break this rule when you have a dramatic and/or stylistic reason for doing so.

OK, at least I remember right  :-[
I firmly believe that English grammar and style exist for a very good reason - ease of reading. However, I originally came up with Rule 0 to refer to the rules of grammar.

Rule 0 states: all rules have exceptions, including this one.

It describes grammar, but it's also applicable to all other systems that have rules. :)
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on June 25, 2017, 10:16:49 PM
Each speaker gets his own line. And once in a while throw in something to help us keep them straight, like:

Frank looked at Joe like he was an idea. Joe had to defend his idea.

For me, six lines tops without a helper like that.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on January 03, 2018, 01:57:30 AM
I kind of got distracted but getting back into working on the story again

Say you want a group of special forces people who you can us on an "off the books" mission that is also extremely dangerous. You recruit from prison for ex-special forces. Deal is that if you do the mission, we will absolve you of your crimes. Get a pardon although you keep quiet on why.

You don't want crazies though. What are crimes that one could have been convicted of where they would be reasonably safe to use but still lengthy enough prison sentences for this to be an attractive option.  One I am thinking is that a combat medic was in a hovercraft accident with another vehicle where the pilot put the vehicle on manual while under the influence of drugs. Combat medic survived the accident but killed the passenger (maybe sister) and murdered the the other pilot.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: 2397 on January 03, 2018, 09:56:35 AM
So they all used to be special forces? I guess it depends on how over the top the sentences are. Desertion, misuse of equipment, committing an offense against a superior officer. Smuggling.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: DaveD on January 03, 2018, 10:26:51 AM
Regardless of the crime they committed, they would additionally need to go through a psychological assessment as to suitability,
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: SnarlPatrick on April 21, 2018, 11:14:39 AM
I haven't read all the replies, but why not just borrow the current conundrum of merchant vessels meant to be unarmed and transplant into space. Just like we use hoses to deter pirates... perhaps there is a non-lethal space means... or that is why they have to fear being discovered to be armed... just have space be like the sea...
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 21, 2018, 11:39:32 AM
Throw in "extenuating circumstances".

AWOL, Absent Without Leave. Man takes off to see dying somebody after being refused leave by dickhead officer.

Theft of government property. Diesel generator disappears and Our Guy is blamed. He didn't do it but won't rat out the guy who actually took it because it's being used in a small hospital way out back of beyond.

Assault with intent to kill. No actual intent to kill was there, but Our Guy beat the crap out of a guy who was going to track down his hooker girlfriend and kill her. This gave her time to relocate.

Aid and comfort to enemy. Our Guy hides an enemy soldier, who is actually only fourteen years old, until the kid's wounds heal and he can beat feet back to the bush. Commanding Officer thought Our Guy had followed orders and took the kid out into the boonies and shot him, but he was spotted helping the kid get away.



Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: brilligtove on April 21, 2018, 05:46:46 PM
Those are really interesting ideas!
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 21, 2018, 07:48:56 PM
Those are really interesting ideas!
Mine were drawn from real life.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: brilligtove on April 21, 2018, 09:44:28 PM
Those are really interesting ideas!
Mine were drawn from real life.
I suspected. Reality is usually stranger and more interesting than fiction.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 24, 2018, 10:10:43 PM
Noisy, if I use situations really close to those, will you have a problem with stealing them?
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 25, 2018, 06:05:15 AM
Noisy, if I use situations really close to those, will you have a problem with stealing them?
No problem at all. I posted suggestions for your use. I used to post "stubs", interesting (to me anyway) bits of stories for people to consider. My small contribution to the field.  :)
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 25, 2018, 06:11:26 AM
Here's another. Five PBRs going up a river. At an "oxbow" in the river all five are hit by RPGs from both banks simultaneously. One boat flips over. The one man still alive on that boat is trapped under it as the enemy hammers it with rifle fire. This turns out to be good for the survivor, he has air holes. The boat settles until he has about 3 inches between water and hull. He has to keep himself up against the hole to breath. The people on the bank keep randomly firing at the boat for two days. He waits a day after they stop and slithers out of the boat. There's a chunk of junk sticking out of the back of his right calf so he can't walk. He does the ~70 klicks back to base by swimming.

Just your basic bad day at work scenario.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: brilligtove on April 26, 2018, 10:47:47 PM
Here's another. Five PBRs going up a river. At an "oxbow" in the river all five are hit by RPGs from both banks simultaneously. One boat flips over. The one man still alive on that boat is trapped under it as the enemy hammers it with rifle fire. This turns out to be good for the survivor, he has air holes. The boat settles until he has about 3 inches between water and hull. He has to keep himself up against the hole to breath. The people on the bank keep randomly firing at the boat for two days. He waits a day after they stop and slithers out of the boat. There's a chunk of junk sticking out of the back of his right calf so he can't walk. He does the ~70 klicks back to base by swimming.

Just your basic bad day at work scenario.

I am so ignorant of military matters that I read PBR as
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cd/Pabst_Blue_Ribbon_logo.svg)

One of my favourite parts of this site is learning about whole domains I didn't know I didn't know.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 27, 2018, 02:08:53 AM
Just think of water-borne Harleys with machine guns and mortars.

And crazy people. Lots and lots of crazy people.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 27, 2018, 02:48:00 PM
Noisy, if I use situations really close to those, will you have a problem with stealing them?
No problem at all. I posted suggestions for your use. I used to post "stubs", interesting (to me anyway) bits of stories for people to consider. My small contribution to the field.  :)

I guess what I am thinking about fielding could almost be considered a suicide squad although I don't see any need for neck bombs. They are light years and worm holes away so would not work. FTL communication in my universe is only through ships jumping across wormholes carrying messages. 
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 27, 2018, 08:28:13 PM
Noisy, if I use situations really close to those, will you have a problem with stealing them?
No problem at all. I posted suggestions for your use. I used to post "stubs", interesting (to me anyway) bits of stories for people to consider. My small contribution to the field.  :)

I guess what I am thinking about fielding could almost be considered a suicide squad although I don't see any need for neck bombs. They are light years and worm holes away so would not work. FTL communication in my universe is only through ships jumping across wormholes carrying messages.
You might want to read The Mote In God's Eye, Niven and Pournelle did a good job on "tramlines".
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2018, 03:58:21 PM
You might want to read The Mote In God's Eye, Niven and Pournelle did a good job on "tramlines".

I think I have the rules of my wormholes pretty much nailed down.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 28, 2018, 05:19:55 PM
You might want to read The Mote In God's Eye, Niven and Pournelle did a good job on "tramlines".

I think I have the rules of my wormholes pretty much nailed down.
Good to go then. Myself, I'll steal anything that ain't nailed down. That's what "Introduction" is for.  ;D
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 28, 2018, 05:32:53 PM
Good to go then. Myself, I'll steal anything that ain't nailed down. That's what "Introduction" is for.  ;D

I may want to publish the thing someday and the more original the better.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: SkeptiQueer on April 29, 2018, 03:09:26 AM
Noisy, if I use situations really close to those, will you have a problem with stealing them?
No problem at all. I posted suggestions for your use. I used to post "stubs", interesting (to me anyway) bits of stories for people to consider. My small contribution to the field.  :)

I guess what I am thinking about fielding could almost be considered a suicide squad although I don't see any need for neck bombs. They are light years and worm holes away so would not work. FTL communication in my universe is only through ships jumping across wormholes carrying messages.
Deadlines are always interesting. "In 240 hours, your weapons and equipment will shut off and anything sensitive will self-immolate. If you're not at rendezvous XYZ at hour 239, you're not coming back."

Are you familiar with the TV series Dark Matter?
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 29, 2018, 04:51:04 AM
Good to go then. Myself, I'll steal anything that ain't nailed down. That's what "Introduction" is for.  ;D

I may want to publish the thing someday and the more original the better.
True. My stuff won't be published while I'm alive, I don't want to argue with anyone.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 29, 2018, 10:12:15 AM
True. My stuff won't be published while I'm alive, I don't want to argue with anyone.

I have published a number of characters on my website that I played in games. Situations where the character went through involved other characters played by other players. When I have created narratives involving them when I write up the character's background, I have gotten hell for not giving credit for them.

There are similar cases where somebody has the smallest germ of an idea in a game, I do all the work to actually describe it, and I get hell for not giving them credit. Luckily in the worst case, I was able to use most of the idea by a few minor changes, making the description completely different. Actually made them cooler. Went from coal black humanoids with multiple arms to coal black "Man o War." 

If there is something that I actually are able to publish, I want to make sure that nobody can claim I stole ideas from them.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 29, 2018, 10:20:59 AM
Deadlines are always interesting. "In 240 hours, your weapons and equipment will shut off and anything sensitive will self-immolate. If you're not at rendezvous XYZ at hour 239, you're not coming back."

Are you familiar with the TV series Dark Matter?

Travel can take week normally and in this case months because they will be going through a "backdoor" (uncharted wormhole around a brown dwarf). There is going to be a lot of variability of the mission. As far as hardware, it will simply surplus gear from somebody else. Might be like a Dutch team equipped with surplus American gear.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Louie on April 30, 2018, 09:48:44 AM
Dutch dirty dozen in space? Yes, please! :D

As for your team's prison background, I think the key question is: do you want them to be decent people at heart? If they're genuine criminals let out on a vital do-or-die mission, it seems simple enough to whip up a reason it has to be them specifically. Maybe only one of 'em is completely essential, but he sets the condition that the others need to be involved as well.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 30, 2018, 10:20:10 AM
Dutch dirty dozen in space? Yes, please! :D

As for your team's prison background, I think the key question is: do you want them to be decent people at heart? If they're genuine criminals let out on a vital do-or-die mission, it seems simple enough to whip up a reason it has to be them specifically. Maybe only one of 'em is completely essential, but he sets the condition that the others need to be involved as well.
Or the worst of the others has friends on the planet where the best one lives, and knows where his family is. Some secondary action there, a team sent to rescue the family and allow the good guy to make pragmatic decisions in life-or-death situations that affect the mission. The team could be lead by the good guy's brother, who has had a falling out with the good guy before he went to prison, etc.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Desert Fox on April 30, 2018, 10:14:06 PM
Dutch dirty dozen in space? Yes, please! :D

As for your team's prison background, I think the key question is: do you want them to be decent people at heart? If they're genuine criminals let out on a vital do-or-die mission, it seems simple enough to whip up a reason it has to be them specifically. Maybe only one of 'em is completely essential, but he sets the condition that the others need to be involved as well.

I don't know if good is the right word but maybe redeemable might be a better word.
Dirty dozen cut to four to six, being lead by a former enemy soldier, being carried to the location by smugglers.
Title: Re: Sci-Fi story help
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on April 30, 2018, 10:29:50 PM
Dutch dirty dozen in space? Yes, please! :D

As for your team's prison background, I think the key question is: do you want them to be decent people at heart? If they're genuine criminals let out on a vital do-or-die mission, it seems simple enough to whip up a reason it has to be them specifically. Maybe only one of 'em is completely essential, but he sets the condition that the others need to be involved as well.

I don't know if good is the right word but maybe redeemable might be a better word.
Dirty dozen cut to four to six, being lead by a former enemy soldier, being carried to the location by smugglers.
Weapons in, helpless innocents out?