Posts Tagged ‘ science ’

Hardening Sci-Fi without turning it into a fossil

Sci-fi is all the rage these days. Made a sneaky comeback (or not) with Star Trek: NextGen and grew in popularity during the 90s until today. However, it is, by enlarge, on the soft side of the scale (downright mushy if you ask me). In the beginning (somewhere in the middle of of the 19th century) science fiction was truly speculative  fiction. New scientific discoveries accelerated the pace of technological advancement. They in turn opened up a universe of possibilities for adventure in far away places, like Venus, Mars, or the moons of Saturn. When man managed to reach earth orbit, hard science fiction became popular and distinct from the softer fluff of pulp fiction, which came to be known as space opera (as in soap opera).

The authors like Arthur C. Clarke took a hard look at the science in front of them and extrapolated entire universes bound by the laws of physics.  Overtime the science became a straight jacket to story telling and confined sci-fi to a sub-class of hardcore fans. Meanwhile franchises like Start Trek and Star Wars (who turned the concept of space opera upside down) went the other way and opened up the genre to millions of fans worldwide. Yet even after they encouraged a new generation of scientist and technologist to go farther in their fields, they still scratched their heads, “But that doesn’t work that way!

Hollywood sci-fi has gotten so fluffy that all it takes to call something sci-fi is for the producers to declare,  “X IN SPACE” or “Y IN THE FUTURE“. Now not all shows or movies trend that way (recent SW and ST movies not withstanding). A few examples show that you can have a enough science to spice up your narrative without being strap down to a table for a extended session of electroshock therapy at the hands of astrophysicist screaming “THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE!”

Examples include: Firefly (no sound in space, not FTL), BSG/B5 (Newtonian Physics which makes for some cool space dogfights) and a few others (feel free to insert your own examples). By adding a few bits of real science you can break the mold and make your show cool again. Doesn’t mean you have to jettison all the softer parts (artificial gravity, FTL, space dogfights),  especially if you need them to make the story work for you. Just be careful that you keep it consistent and don’t abuse the applied phlebotinum.

In other words, you can still use science to wow your audience without pretending you care for the actual science.

By way of example, look at this short video. If that is not a gorgeous sight perfect for any sci-fi (or even fantasy) story, I don’t know what is:

Advertisements

Flash Fiction Friday: Once More Into the Breach

Haven’t updated in awhile. It seems that Flash Fiction Friday is not as popular as I thought it would be. No worries, you live and learn. This is another story set in the Galaxy Command RPG setting.

——–

Argus stared at the screen over the bar through bleary red eyes. Someone sat on the stool to his left, “How are you buddy?”

Argus drained his glass with one long pull. “What parts of no you don’t understand Gary, the N or the O?” he spat at the new comer.

“The part where you’re broke or the part where you still have nine months on your reserve status, I can’t decide which part that may be Argus,” said Gary.

“And what are you going to do about it?” Argus looked around him, “I don’t see a security squad with you and you’re not stupid enough to try to drag me back to the brig all by yourself so what do you want?”

“I’m putting a new team together and I need someone like you. Technically I could order you back, but I don’t want it to go down that way.”

Argus made a slicing motion across his throat to the bartender. “Technically I could give three shits about what you want or your orders.”

“I’ll take care of that,” said Gary to the bartender. He took the data pad and sign in his own name. “Still drinking scotch I see, all three bottles worth.”

Argus shrugged, “You done?”

“Yeah. There should be something waiting for you in your room. Think of it as your severance package.”

Argus got up from his chair and made his way across the casino. Little old ladies played the coin machines. Lights and sounds blasted through his dulled senses. Inside his room, he stumbled in the dark. “Ouch! Damn it!” A small table toppled over. The pain emanating from the stubbed toe pierced through the alcohol induced mental fog. “Lights!” A black box lay on the ground.  It came to life the moment he touched it.

WE ARE D’VOR

Startled by the ominous voice Argus put the box down on the bed. Gary’ holographic face appeared before him, “Argus this is part of a transmission we received from Eden about a week ago. You heard the rumors about what happened. We still don’t have all the facts and I can’t say more without compromising security. I need someone to whip up a new team to investigate this. Training contract, good pay, expunged record. Can’t give you back your old rank, but you never stood on rank anyway. Meet me at the starport at 11:45hrs. If you don’t show up, I won’t hold it against you. Hope to see you there.” The image winked out.

Argus shook his head and flopped back to be. He would be crazy to return to Galaxy Command. Not after the Koha Maru, not after what happened to Ryan.

Then again… he thought, but sleep took over.

First Post: An Introduction and a Movie

Hello folks.

Yeah, I have ANOTHER blog.

Expect a large dose of all things games,gaming, and sci-fi.

I have a bunch of shorts ready for your perusal which I will post this Friday (a continuation of Flash Fiction Fridays).

But right now enjoy this “trailer” I put together for an upcoming RPG campaign our group is gearing up to play: