I have a great idea for a novel. You know what would make it even better?…
Category Archives: World-Building
August 6, 2012Posted by on
In the story I’m writing, there are 2 planets, neither of them Earth, and a round trip between them takes about 5 years. Spaceships don’t have warp drives, just constant acceleration. Where in the Milky Way is a plausible location for my story? Or where else in our galaxy would you want to visit? What do you think the night sky would be like there?
June 10, 2012Posted by on
So, in this scene from my novel, the heroes are attacked by a horrifying creature, and they’re limited to ~18th century levels of technology to deal with it. The monster floats in air by means of a hydrogen bladder; its metabolism breaks down water into hydrogen and oxygen. I’ve devised a spear that lets them pierce the creature’s skin and send a spark into its hydrogen bladder to blow it up. I figure there would be no oxygen inside the bladder though, so the weapon sends a spray of saltpeter (KNO3) to act as an oxidizer.
My question for any chemistry buffs out there: how far-fetched does this sound? Okay, okay, I realize the whole thing’s pretty-blinking far fetched, but I mean specifically the way I’m blowing up the monster? Is there some basic fact about the combustion of hydrogen that I don’t understand? Is there some easier way? If you have any ideas, please drop them in the Comments below. Thanks!
If I haven’t said it before, thanks to Michael P for the idea of deepstaria enigmatica as a model for an alien life-form, and to novelist Michael R Wilson for the image of a cloud bank stretching across the horizon like a wall. Those two images together formed the nucleus of this scene.
May 29, 2012Posted by on
One of the first things that I decided when I sat down to write my own science fiction novel was that faster-than-light travel would be impossible. The book I’m writing isn’t “hard” science fiction, more planetary adventure, but the tropes used to get around the light speed barrier just seemed like magic wands to me, and I didn’t want to use them.
I became interested in having my characters traveling across the galaxy at near-light speed, and seeing civilizations rise and fall while they stayed more or less the same age (due to the time dilation effect). That gave rise to the notion of a galactic Government so vast that its bureaucrats take centuries to fly from one assignment to the next.
After a little thought and googling, however, I realized that even at ludicrous rates of acceleration – 5G, 10G – the subjective time for a trip across a significant portion of the galaxy could still take more than a human lifetime. More on this topic over at the World page.
So (here’s the funny part) I decided I would introduce some kind of suspended animation that allows the characters to “sleep” through the long journey in their starship. That is, of course, likely just as impossible as faster-than-light travel, for a whole host of reasons. It did not bother me one jot. I’m sure this says something about my psychology and nothing about science, but I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. Here’s an article on the trend toward obeying the light-speed barrier in SF.
May 29, 2012Posted by on
Thanks to Michael P for the suggestion of deepstaria enigmatica as a real animal that should be an alien. Over on the World page (choose The Story | World from the menu), it’s become a floating, carnivorous jellyfish that hides itself in clouds and attacks unwary air sailors. I’m picturing a desperate life-and-death struggle in the air somewhere in the third act.
(Note: I’ve come to the conclusion that my posts and post titles have been a little too understated up to now, so I’m unleashing my inner Stan Lee here.)
May 20, 2012Posted by on
I think my fictional world is in for some kind of crisis. But what kind?
May 19, 2012Posted by on
Who had an interesting belief system different from yours?
I want to take my readers to different, new places with different, new people. Who are some different people you’ve met?
May 17, 2012Posted by on
I’ll have to start writing dialogue eventually. Who are some good models of colorful talkers?
May 16, 2012Posted by on
Thanks to Nate over at http://worldbuildersguild.deviantart.com/and NC Pendergast at http://ncpendergast.wordpress.com/ for cool geology ideas. Iceland…Cloud Forests…a river with great green trees sprouting up like mushrooms. This is helping me flesh out my vague idea of a cloudy planet of airships and 18th century technology.
May 16, 2012Posted by on
I need to imagine another planet. What are some places with really interesting landscapes or geology to help me brainstorm?
May 15, 2012Posted by on
I’m trying to imagine what weather might be like on another planet. What’s the weirdest weather you’ve ever encountered on Earth?