Saturday, April 01, 2017

Engineering .... or writing ?

I'm pondering one of those career moves again.

Except this one is both more realisable and less realistic than the Band thing from a couple of years ago. You know ... the one written on April 1st 2015 (have a peek in the list on the right!) promising an album out in exactly one year to the day. Yep. Not suspicious at all right ? 😀

Oooo - I see emoticons that I didn't realise I had .... I promise not to abuse them ... too much 😇

You'll have hopefully seen and enjoyed a couple more April 1st Secret Projects today. Here is my last one for this year. Of course the secret of the April 1st Secret Project is to make you wonder if the story is true or not. This one is completely about fiction. But is it actually fiction ? I'll leave that to you to ponder ... But first .... the post demands a thumbnail picture !
We need more books. Yep. This post is all about that book I've been talking about writing for ... how long now ? I have ideas. Some of them I think are good ideas. What I really need is a plot to write around. Plus characters. One issue I've seen in some writing is that the characters are all the same. I'd have to base my characters partly around people I know. And me as well. Could you be a character in this book ?

Could there be inspiration coming from a couple of awesome novelist ladies. That'd be Nika Harper, who I first spotted via the name Nikasaur. She's done some amazing short videos where she plays with words and ... be still my beating heart when I watch them. Check out the first Wordplay playlist. And the amazing Thumper too (link on the right in the blog list and here!) who's sense of humour and fun is something I marvel at.

Wait ... what would it be about. Here are a few of the ideas. I've meant to write these down for ages now, in order to frame them into some kind of logical structure in my head.

Premise - it's a future scifi where we have escaped Earth and are on colonies amongst the stars. Faster than Light travel is plentiful and easy to procure. It is feasible to set up new colonies without too much investment or interference. But as always .... it's the people that dominate. Technology amongst the stars is easy, being around Good People is tough.

As it is on our Earth today. Don't you feel like you want to escape the worst of society today and just take the Good People with you ? I feel like that a lot. It's good being amongst the two Twitch communities of HeyChrissa and Radderss (links on the right!). They broadcast on the Twitch, let me chill out and I've found that hugely valuable over the past year or so. I have a small circle of friends too who are hugely valued and let me talk through thoughts that would otherwise send me barmy. Erm ... make that send me "even more" barmy. But a lot of the society around me ? No. I see stuff on the news from our leaders and other people that is just horrific and appalling.

So the main premise of this book is that people on a developed world get sick of what's going on and organise a departure. An escape. A chance to start over as they would like to have society arranged. An opportunity to leave behind the worst of the society on their developed world.

It would take a lot of inspiration from what is going on in the world today. And there's a lot of Really Bad Stuff going on in the world at the moment. The trick in the book is to present it and the solutions like the norm.

The latest (and you'll guess when I started writing this post from this !) is what Youtube have done to the LGBT community (basically - a complete censorship of all their material even if it has nothing to do with sexuality). Censorship is really bad but it is an extension of the abuse and prejudice aimed at the LGBT+ community today. I'm a straight bloke that way but .... I'll defend LGBT to live the way that is right for them. And that doesn't include censorship, prejudice or the abusive practices that some of our politicians would like to inflict on them.

No - the first group of escapees would be LGBT who just don't feel safe in their community any more. They feel out of place. They want to be part of a community that values them for their skills and who they are, not who they sleep with. We should judge nobody for who they sleep with. (I do feel strongly about this).

But ... there's also an imperative which would mean that all colonists would need to contribute to genetic diversity (not made my mind up about this - selective breeding of people must be a last resort only). This does not mean LGBT must do the Deed with someone else, as artificial means would get around the ... incompatibility ? :-). Problems with birth that require IVF today have been solved in this future society and this extends into allowing Gay Man + Gay Man or Lesbian Lady + Lesbian Lady to have a kid together. The only imperative remaining is that genetic diversity but outside of that, anything is possible and reasonable ... unless societal prejudice gets in the way. And the book will present that prejudice as being an archaic legacy of societies long left behind in the dust of history.

And there are the other issues in our modern society ...

Random attacks like the recent one in London, following other attacks around the world. It's not so much the attacks (which are bad enough), it's how our society responds to them. And if society responds with a kneejerk which is bad for our freedom, that's another reason to move away from both the oppression and the terrorism.

Immigrants ? People who have the resources to smuggle their way into a spaceship leaving for another world would be valued ... They have the motivation to want to escape and the skills to allow them to do so. That could make them Very Useful .... I'd be able to weave in the discovery of stowaways as well, because it would be trivially easy to find them on a spaceship.

Persecution of anyone "different" - like we're seeing in a lot of societies today ... needs to be excised. It would be presented as a reason for why people are wanting to abandon their safe lives where they are. As in, they want to walk away from a society that they think is going to come for them next with the prejudice and persecution.

And I would need to take inspiration from many other elements today ... I might even put a streamer lady in there who entertains the colony despite being so disabled she can barely do anything else. But sitting in that streaming chair is an incredible personality who just .... entertains. People need something to relax and listen to and as I mentioned above, watching streamers on Twitch is one way I unwind at the moment.

Future tech ... I've already mentioned light speed travel. I think this colony needs advanced 3d printing too ... but I'll rule out teleporters. Those always seem cheaty plus there is the moral black hole with teleporters of destroying the original and creating a copy. I'll say that the technology is possible but was banned. Medicine would be very much advanced, eliminating most problems of today.

How would I start it all off ?

The Captain of the ship and organiser of the whole "Let's get outta here!" thing would hear something and immediately go to the comms and say "Comm ? Send Lifeboat, timescale - 24 hours". As in, an announcement has been made which will shortly lead to it being very much more difficult to up sticks and leave. The Lifeboat is the signal for everyone to drop what they're doing and run.

And then in interludes through the book, there would be essentially minutes from meetings leading up to the departure. I've seen this narrative trick used before, where the book will zip forwards and back through time, with extra exposition explaining more about the world the book is set in. This would present a world getting steadily more and more scary as the departure date got nearer. Actually, I don't think this would be a formal meeting. A conversation in the pub would work better, maybe even after one of these meetings takes place. Meetings tend to have too much talk for little actual information being passed. A pub conversation might be more ... normal ? Also more compressed.

Another narrative trick is to have someone completely clueless along as a surrogate for the reader. New concepts are explained to the surrogate to develop them for the reader.

What I'm missing though is something to tie it all together.

I enjoyed a book called Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven ... It was a similar tale of a new colony among the stars. They were doing pretty well until the dragons (grendels) appear and start eating people ...

An unexpected threat is a great way to get your tale going. And you need drama to keep people interested.

How about some other things to think about .... how do you deal with crime ? Do the new place have capital punishment ? Corporal punishment ? Imprisonment ? Banishment ? Sometimes banishment is worse than execution .... On an untamed world, a banished citizen may slowly starve to death ... or be eaten by predators. A quick end might be preferable. But no society is perfect even if its people go into it with the best of intentions.

But that's a thought for later.

I have embryonic ideas there. Not enough to give up the Engineering Day Job for novel writing. Yet. Perhaps. I have the other idea of a close future post apocalyptic Earth, where my analogue and crew are looking to rebuild, with pretty much everything based out of a barge with the Isle of Wight being our home base.

I'm curious to know what people think about this one.
And they're my letters now ...

This is the last of my 3 April 1st Special Projects for today. I hope you enjoyed them all and in the case of this one, made you think a bit. And one last thought to leave you with :

Not all you think is fiction, is false.

Watch out for what you read today ! Hopefully you spot the false stories but I hope you get a few chuckles from them too. April Fools Day should be about poking harmless fun at the world we live in.

1 comment:

  1. One note for this post - I use the term LGBT and LGBT+ ... but not the Q, I or A. That's not excluding Q, I or A from this community in the stars, you're all welcome. It's just me not understanding the full aspects of the terms !

    As they say : It's not you, it's me :-).


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