Friday, September 12, 2014

Changing Tracks

After months of work on Starfall, I feel like I need to shift gears a bit.  The ideas no longer come as rapidly as they once did, and I fear stagnation may loom on the horizon. To that end, I will use a trick I learned a long time ago – I’m going to start work on another project. This will let some Starfall ideas percolate while I get to still make progress on something.

To this end, I will began work in a genre near and dear to my heart: science fiction. I was raised on Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke. Edgar Rice Burroughs and Frank Herbert expanded my sense of wonder. Audrey Huxley and George Orwell opened my eyes. Ray Bradbury quickened my heart, and more recently, Ben Bova has kindled a new sense of wonder about other worlds. Now, I hope to tap into the awe and wonder inspired by the stories from my youth and create futuristic setting.

Dark Horizons

The new project will draw on works by the previous authors for inspiration, as well as movies such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Space: Above and Beyond, and Alien; and video games like Wing Commander, Doom, Half-Life, Mass Effect, and Quake 4. I definitely see this as a space opera, but I want to shade that with an underlying sense of mystery, fear, and horror. After all, there are a fair number of literary conventions shared by gothic literature and space opera – strong antagonists, supernatural occurrences (psychic phenomena, collective consciousnesses, extremely advanced or alien technology, etc.), and weak vulnerable figures. Differences between the two genres will probably be settled in favor of space opera, but we will see.

Here are a few ideas I have bouncing around right now:
  • Humanity has advanced a great deal before developing effective interstellar travel, thus bursting onto the galactic scene with some pretty high tech toys. This will result in there not being nearly as many humans as there may be aliens, but humans can still hold their own against them, if/when armed conflict occurs.
  • Humans are still xenophobic, small-minded, and aggressive. This will likely lead to interstellar wars, arms races, and nothing as noble as what Gene Roddenberry hoped for. Aliens will serve as a source of fear for humans; indeed, the only optimistic aspect may be that people will unite against the perceived threat posed by aliens. As such, I will design aliens as the embodiment of various human fears – fear of nature, fear of watchers, fear of death, fear of the unnatural, etc.
  • Space travel, by its nature, is a source of fear. Humans are utterly alone and trapped in a completely inhospitable environment protected by fragile technology. Combine this with other stresses from alien threats, social pressures, political considerations, etc. and interesting scenarios are bound to ensue.
  • Alien worlds should feel alien. And “alien” means any planet that isn’t Earth. This should be achieved by emphasizing the subtle but unnerving differences between them and Earth – the horizon on Mars looks like an enormous cliff a mile away; there is no sound on the Moon; a everything on planet orbiting a red dwarf will be red-tinted and possibly appear a little darker, since human eyes are more sensitive to greens and blues; etc.
  • Something needs to represent the supernatural. Right now, I am tossing between technology and psychic powers. The drawbacks of technology as the supernatural is that in science fiction, science is stressed; it is distinctly not magic – the providence of fantasy. The drawback of psychic powers is that they verge on being magic.  I must give this more thought.
 My To Do List currently includes:
  • Sort out what the Supernatural will be and how it actually works as opposed to how people think it does.
  • Sort out some interesting aliens that represent fears.
  • Sort out human factions
  • Sort out a rough future timeline for humanity
  • Sort out just what technologies will exist.
  • Decide how space warfare should feel: Star Trek’s glass cannons vs. Star Wars’ WWII Naval Warfare IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

No comments :

Post a Comment