Sci-Fi, fantasy and speculative Indie Authors Review discussion

Scientific Theory

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message 1: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
Ok folks, there's been a lot of interesting fringe discussion on scientific theory. To explore it more thoroughly (especially since we are in part a SF group) I thought it deserved a thread of its own.

Lets hear all about theories of space travel, time travel, genetics (will attempt not to lose my head on that one) and anything else science related. If this takes off maybe we should have a thread discussing magic in fiction too?

Fire at will!

message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I think that since FTL travel has been a part of SF for so many years that an author no longer has to provide a description of how it works. If it's important to the story it's probably best to make a reference to the hardware. But you can't have interstellar empires without reasonably fast FTL travel.

message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Some of my grumpiness contributed to this, so perhaps I should state my position. I'm new to writing, but have read vast swathes of scifi, and it was my frustration with the trends in it, that led to me beginning to write. I am sorry if I've used my personal opinions of this as a yardstick to judge other people's books. That's unfair.

What I personally see as magic elements include: time travel, faster-than-light drives, gravity you can turn on off with a switch, breeding for "luck", invisibility cloaks, sonic screwdrivers that do whatever the director calls for, space elevators that call for materials 1000 times stronger than anything known, tractor beams, shields, telepathy, telekinesis, ley lines, dragon paths, god, etc...

I feel that the inclusion of these elements in stories about the future has disconnected sci-fi from the engineers and scientists who are working on practical ways that get people to space, to the extent that most people feel that human colonization of space is a pipe dream. I try to present it as a practical possibility. I don't claim that this kind of science fiction is superior to the mainstream, only that it's the kind of story I want to write. And that I'd like to find a way to connect with people who are looking for this kind of thing.

message 4: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
I think you've both made valid points there. I have to be honest and say that I like a bi of what you would term 'magic' science, Richard. It doesn't seem to me that some of those things at least are outside the realms of possibility - mathematics was once considered akin to witchcraft and heresy and practitioners were burned for it after all. A facile point perhaps but science moves faster than we can process it -it really isn't any more concrete than magic in some respects *braces self for barrage of outrage ;)*)

That said, why shouldn't there be a branch of SF dedicated to your more grounded SF. I'll happily read it all :)

message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments No outrage here. And I'm not denying most of those are ever possible. It's a question of time horizons. I'm trying to imagine a 45-year out future, not much time to do anything except engineer solutions based on the science we already know.

I confess, actually, that I use a few dubious ideas in my book. A nuclear reactor that is completely turnkey and needs no maintenance. Phones that fit inside your ear. Plastic that can be made out of asteroid rocks using a fairly small machine. Rocket fuel you can make from ice but keep without cryogenic storage. The only things I'm really strict about are light-speed delays in communications, the many-months time of travelling in the Belt (a huge problem for story-telling) and getting gravity only from rocket thrust, spinning things, or proper big objects.

Sometimes I talk, and people say "but this is not about you, Richard" and I go, "Oops, sorry."

message 6: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments Is 'magic' science almost the same thing as 'fringe' science?

message 7: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
It seems to be a newly coined phase, Amanda, but it does appear to cover many of the same theories as fringe science.

message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Richard 2060 wrote: "I confess, actually, that I use a few dubious ideas in my book...."

My current novel might meet your criteria, but I'm afraid that my next one won't--FTL travel, ships with gravity, and a clash of empires. Two things I like about Speculative Fiction is that it is speculative, and it is fiction.

message 9: by Hákon (new)

Hákon Gunnarsson | 283 comments I'm honestly not overly concerned about scientific accuracy in science fiction. There are limited to what I'm ready to accept as "real" in science fiction, but I'm fine with many things that are probably never going to become real, such as time travel. The main thing for me is that the author uses it in an interesting or entertaining way.

message 10: by Jeno (new)

Jeno (jenomarz) | 52 comments To me, if something is plausible, it is definitely not "magic" or "fantasy". Hard SF has shades (people tend to argue about those a lot), and what Richard 2060 wants to write is Ultra Hard (if not present day) SF. That's perfectly fine.

I assume you are familiar with this lovely scale, which is quite good to determine where you are:

All SF.

message 11: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
I began getting failing grades in science in the 7th grade. By my junior year of high school, I dropped science all together an did all of my make up credits in lit and writing. Oddly enough, 7th grade was also the year I discovered that I loved sci-fi. My niche as an author is writing scientifically plausible fantasy and I have to admit: everything I know about the field I pretend to be an expert in came from reading Jurassic Park. (Sorry if that made your head explode, J. A.)
Everything I pretend to know about space came from reading Cosmos and Contact. The only reason I know what FTL stands for is Anne McCaffrey's Ship Who Sang.

And now that the pretext of Christina knows nothing is out of the way...

I can see Richard's point. To a point, that is. I enjoy space magic. I will accept wormholes, stargates, ftl drives, time travel, and a whole host of other things, but the way they are used is important to me.
A ship cruising halfway across the galaxy or worse, to other galaxies, in a couple of hours bugs me. Amp up the magic or understand how vast the universe really is. Fake planets with breathable air and similar gravitational pull is fine, but normal humans walking around on Jupiter is not. Martians, people born on Mars after colonization, are fine. Little green men from our nearest planetary neighbor in this day and age are not. Unless done for comedic value.

Just my two cents as a sci-fi charlatan.

message 12: by L.E. (last edited Oct 27, 2014 02:57PM) (new)

L.E. Howel | 6 comments I suppose I'm a little odd in my views on sci-fi. The technology of the future isn't really the main focus of interest for me. It's the people. Of course there will be differences in the future, all sorts of life changing developments, but I'm more interested in the effect this has on people.

I suppose that means I fall more naturally into the H.G. Wells camp (writing about Time Machines without laborious descriptions of how they work), rather than the Jules Verne camp (long explanations of imagined technologies). That's just where my interest lies. I want to explore the human element. Humans are real, and if they are portrayed realistically every sci-fi story, no matter how fantastical in its premise, will have an important grounding in reality.

Others, of course, would disagree. It's all a matter of taste. An example I encountered with my own writing was with an inconsequential tool, a "spot joiner", in my novel Planetfall. One reviewer criticized the fact that I didn't take the time to explain how this tool worked and what its function was. I felt he rather missed the point. My story wasn't about the spot joiner. Indeed, I would have as little interest in reading a story that explained the use of every tool as I would in reading a dictionary cover to cover.

When I read Pride and Prejudice, did Jane Austen pause to tell me how the saddle worked that Mr. Darcy usesd to ride to meet Elizabeth? In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, are we told in great detail what type of screwdriver Dr. Frankenstein used to construct his equipment? No, of course not. That's not what the story is about.

Of course a balance is needed here. In sci-fi there is a need for some explanation, after all, things are very different in the future. The trick is to make it more natural. Only explain what is truly necessary, and use context clues to show some things, rather than labor every detail. The story is what's important. Technology plays a part in every sci-fi story, but should not intrude too much into the narrative.

That's my view anyway. I'm sure there are many who would disagree, but that's why there are different genres and sub-genres. We all get what we want.

message 13: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Maltman (jamiemaltman) | 156 comments Mod
I'll stop by too, since I was involved in that other discussion in some way.

I love that there's lots of subgenres and flavours and how new avenues of publishing and the internet allows those to find their readership, however big or small. We all get to tell the stories we want, in the way we want. :)

I enjoyed science in school, and enjoy reading about these ideas today. My fiction reading preferences are more about wonder and characters and plot than about mechanics. And I watched Doctor Who from the time of my earliest memories, and read fantasy from the beginning, so I'm not in any way averse to magical anything. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for people writing harder sci fi, because you're also a tough crowd and it takes work just to get the mechanics where you need them to be... before all the plot and characters and universal story stuff. :)

message 14: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments I follow the long tradition of sci-fi and let the characters suffer :-)

message 15: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
I think that's the long tradition of writing, Richard. First choose your victim ;)

Head still in one piece, Christina, thanks. Actually Jurassic Park was plausible - that's all I ask for really. And anything told in the right way (to the right audience) can become plausible.

That said I will become very stressed out if someone mentions a male tortoiseshell cat or doesn't correctly show inherited eye colour... I guess we all have our triggers ;)

message 16: by David (new)

David Schick (davidschick) | 14 comments The science that I write is based on where I imagine technology could realistically be someday. FTL is totally out for humans during at least the next couple hundred years, although an older alien race may have figured out an alternative long ago. Human teleports are out as well, but time travel would be possible under certain circumstances.

message 17: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments JA, hate to burst your bubble, but male tortoiseshell cats are a proven fact. Oh, the ones that show up are extremely rare, and 99.9% sterile (which is why a viable one has such outrageous stud fees, even if he doesn't breed true.) It is a case of "bad" genetics for the poor boys. (Same goes for calico's which are far, far more frequent - about 2% of the calico population.)

As for my own take on sci-fi, I actually see it falling into three "camps", for lack of a better definition.

The first camp is the one that the technology we know about is likely to reach within a relatively short amount of time. I often think of this one as "Science possible". An example of this would be a viable moon colony, or perhaps even a viable Mars colony. There is a lot of technology that is on the brink of allowing this, just not a whole lot of impulse behind it... yet.

The second camp I tend to call the "Science wish" - again, based on current theoretical science. Such as the quantum mechanics of the quarks. When I went through physics last semester, our professor's favorite subject was quantum mechanics. ('Course, that's what he got his doctorate in, so I had BETTER be!) But, that class proved to me that the potential for FTL communication is possible. It did not, however, make any proof about it be probable. (That's for the fiction writer to handle, right?)

The third camp, I often refer to as true science fiction. It uses known scientific principles in new ways. This is the camp that gives scientists dreams of proving right or wrong what ever concept the writer makes.

At one point, even Star Trek fell into true science fiction. Then, parts of it started becoming science wishes - especially in the medical fields. Now, an even smaller part of those wishes are becoming science possibles. I mean, just think about when Star Trek was first introduced - who would have dreamed that it would be possible to regrow an organ from just a few cells? Now, not only has that procedure been accomplished, but in some areas it is becoming an economically viable solution for people needing organ transplants.

That's just my two cents on the issue.

message 18: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
Sorry, should have been more specific and said the appearance of male tortoiseshell cats who are not suffering Klinefelter syndrome where they have an extra X chromosome making them XXY and allowing random gene inactivation to occur. The argument has been made that these cats are actually technically female... I have to admit I've never heard of a fertile 'male tortoiseshell'. If you have links to any articles Id be interested to see them :) (see, told you I was not picky about genetics lol)

message 19: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments ::Laughs:: J.A. I've only heard about them from cat breeders, I've never actually seen one myself. While the breeders in question did have some lovely calicoes, they may have also been pulling my leg about the male torties they ran across being viable. Will have to ask one of my aunts who shows cats to verify for me next time I talk to her. (Unless I can get lucky and get to another show.)

message 20: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
I know my genetics professor once said that if you discovered a viable XY male Tortie you could make a killing in the scientific community. On the other hand he always used to tell us he was drinking vodka not water during lectures ;)

message 21: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments ::Laughs:: JA, Haven't heard that one before. I do remember seeing a few male calicoes at the shows up for adoption and crying because the adoption required them to be neutered. (And, some of them came awfully close to tortie - an extra splotch of color on a toe? WHAAA!) My genetics professor was rather wrapped up with worms. I so hated the long lab that semester - trying to differentiate between a hermaphrodite and a male with scanning microscopes... ::Shudder:: I'm just glad I escaped in one piece without destroying something along the way.

message 22: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments In my books I've been trying to imagine how dogs and cats would react to weightlessness. Talked to the 'vomit comet' people about whether they'd been on any of their flights, and they said no. I have large interior spaces used for repairing boats (and for playing non-magic quidditch). I imagine they'd do OK, the main hazard would be stranding out of reach of a wall. Cats in very low gravity (like on Phobos), could jump out a third-floor window and take a little nap before reaching the floor.

message 23: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
Yeuch! Annelids. Not my favorite. Glad I didn't have that lab - not very fond of squishy things :/

That's an interesting thought about cats in zero G, Richard.

message 24: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments One of my biggest issues was trying to decide how humans would move in very low gravity. I'm talking 30 mm/s2, a tiny fraction of the gravity on the moon. There is literally no data about this, as it's never been possible to try it. After much agonising I realised I didn't have to solve this problem, I just don't talk about it. Fish don't talk about water.

message 25: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments I know this whole thread isn't about my books, but it might be a good place to talk about a difficulty I have. How to introduce tech. I've had a few comments on a line early in my book where I say 'the phone rang in her ear.' People were taken aback, because when I used the word 'phone' they envisaged a handset, and they felt a bit shocked she'd inserted it in her ear. But I'm trying to keep the narrative voice contemporary with the story, and in my mind, they would be totally used to phones being something small enough to fit in the ear. I don't want to step outside the story and say 'by 2060, phones were small enough...' so I left it up to the reader to figure it out. Obviously without great success. I also have a glossary which talks about the technology, but of course readers won't break off and look at that. Is there another way I could deal with this kind of issue?

message 26: by Jeno (new)

Jeno (jenomarz) | 52 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "I know this whole thread isn't about my books, but it might be a good place to talk about a difficulty I have. How to introduce tech. I've had a few comments on a line early in my book where I say ..."

Give it a name.

The idea is phones --> smartphones --> in year 2060 we will have ? Earphone? Headphone?

message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Mmm, earphone. like it, thanks.

message 28: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "I know this whole thread isn't about my books, but it might be a good place to talk about a difficulty I have. How to introduce tech. I've had a few comments on a line early in my book where I say ..."

Regarding your glossary - you could try something like David Weber does with the glossary in the back, and add your own twist to it via hyperlinks in the text. It takes a little extra time to set them up properly, but it could be well worth it. If you set up your references the same way you set up a linked table of contents, it should convert to .epub or .mobi format just fine. I had to do that with a note on my MC's syntax for the first book. (Will need an extra set of eyes or three to see if the footnote mark is visible or not, however. I didn't use a big one.)

message 29: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 77 comments I can appreciate the attention to detail and thoughtful precision that goes into plausible hard sci-fi. Sometimes, I enjoy diving into a portrayal of a realistic near future extrapolated from known scientific principles and technology.

What I enjoy the most, however, are stories that explore imagination. Tales that take me into the unknown are fascinating. If an author is presenting me with something familiar, I don't need an exhaustive explanation or description to get the picture. I don't need to read a manual on a spaceship's plumbing infrastructure unless it matters in the story. I don't need to know exactly how many times each nut was tightened on each bolt in the engine room. Nothing makes me skip pages in a book faster than lengthy explanations of things that don't need to be explained. (Yes, there are a number of sci-fi books by big name authors who do this.) On the other hand, if an author is showing me something new and unfamiliar, I want to know more. How does it work? What does it do? How would it feel to experience that?

Sometimes, a deliberate lack of explanation will pull me in and make me want to know more. A little mystery is a good thing. When I read, I like to fill in the gaps myself. I like to imagine the parts the author intentionally left blank. Doing so makes me a participant in the story rather than a passive observer. When I write, I try to leave room for the reader to finish imagining the scene and/or the characters.

I deal much more in "sciencey-esque" fantasy than in sci-fi because it's more interesting to me. My stories sometimes include just enough of an appearance of science as to seem somewhat plausible. I use the science to help set the scene, and then I move on. For these reasons, I'm probably not a good judge of what makes for well written hard sci-fi.

message 30: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments i enjoy SF especially technology. i do a lot of research and my main focus is weaponry and applied science. i have a glossary in the back of my sci fi books about the tech i speculate. i know most readers wont look at it but its a shot to show off my research lolz. my aim is to stump the anal haters (you know who they are). also researching aliens and their planets is hard work, and its a lot of world building. a lot of questions to answer. ...

message 31: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments If you set up your references the same way you set up a linked table of contents, it should convert to .epub or .mobi format just fine.
This is true, and in fact my glossary is set up that way. Hyperlinks within the glossary articles lead to other articles. I thought about hyperlinks within the story, and decided it would look unprofessional and lead the reader to interrupt the flow.

When you say it will convert smoothly, I'm guessing you haven't tried this trick on Smashwords. It worked with no effort on Kindle Direct, but took dozens of tries to get right with the Bookmangler on Smashwords. They require the use of bookmarks, a mechanism Word deprecated about ten years ago, and if you do it any other way they reject your book. Nightmare.

I'm guessing a lot of readers of a more literary bent are going 'what?' and wondering where these geeky people come from, but there's room for a wide range of styles in fiction. If my style only appeals to one reader in a million, I could still reach a thousand people and be happy with that.

message 32: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments Richard, oddly enough, I haven't had a problem with my links going through Meatgrinder on Smashwords. The first time I submitted Out of the Darkness, it bounced. But, that was because of other formatting errors, not a link issue.

As for linking to every one of your tech goodies - that would look like a manual, not a fiction piece. But, a few of the more "outlandish" possibilities may be useful, depending on how critical it was to the story. (At least in my opinion. There have been a few times wading through Weber's Honorverse, that would have been useful, and cut down on the repetitive info dumps on the tech!)

message 33: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments Original post:

J. A. wrote: "Lets hear all about theories of space travel, time travel, genetics (will attempt not to lose my head on that one) and anything else science related..."

Seems to have been derailed right from the start. A lot has been said here about what's considered appropriate science for SF...but there's been precious little about actual science. **shrug**

About the only kind of news I go looking for these days is science news. I've been frequenting for a while because it focuses a lot on AI, biotech, robotics, and all the singularity/posthuman kinds of stuff that I've been writing about lately.

Here's one I found there, linked from the original web site:

"Strings of binary aren’t all that different from strands of organic DNA; they both carry actionable information encoded into reconfigurable symbols. And, like DNA, with enough replication and slight variations, software could become resistant to viral attacks through digital biodiversity."

message 34: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments [Because self-replicating code...what could possibly go wrong!]

message 35: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
Micah wrote: "[Because self-replicating code...what could possibly go wrong!]"


message 36: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Science questions are resolved in peer-reviewed science journals, not (with the greatest respect) writer discussion boards.

message 37: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 77 comments That might explain why no one from CERN has been calling me lately.

message 38: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 77 comments Anyway, to respond to the original post, I enjoy reading as much as I can comprehend on various theoretical physics topics like string theory, dark matter, time theories, etc. I think there's a great deal of possible sci-fi material that can come from these concepts.

message 39: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "Science questions are resolved in peer-reviewed science journals, not (with the greatest respect) writer discussion boards."

I didn't think the point was to resolve questions but "To explore it more thoroughly..."

AFAIK, no question has ever been resolved online.

message 40: by Micah (last edited Oct 28, 2014 03:25PM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments As for science in stories, I tend to enjoy works that take a couple ideas from theoretical sciences and use those as springboards for developing ideas.

Taking proven concepts and expounding on how those concepts can be applied certainly has its place in SF, but runs a big risk of reading too much like a science textbook. And that's never been the primary focus of most SF, even classics. If there's a good enough story to go with it, it can really be good, but limiting myself to just that as a writer would be as dull as limiting myself to writing formulaic Romance novels.

I mean, even Asimov, often held up as the gold standard of solidly scientific SF, used FTL spaceship. (After all, you simply cannot have a galactic empire without FTL flight and/or communication.) SF serves so many other functions and comes in so many different flavors. Science itself is almost never the ultimate purpose behind the genre.

But I love science!

Also I'm keenly interested in the ethics of science. Here's another article that's right up my alley:

message 41: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Maltman (jamiemaltman) | 156 comments Mod
On our To Be Read Podcast tonight, one of the co-hosts mentioned this book, which sounds absolutely up the alley of the harder sci-fi camp here. :)

Physics of the Future How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

So he interviewed a number of scientists, and then wrote about some actual scientific things that are plausible for the year 2100? Sounds cool to me. And apparently he has an accessible style, for those who don't enjoy journal articles as much as others.

message 42: by Richard (last edited Oct 29, 2014 01:46AM) (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Anyone looking for further evidence of my insanity, I have a future history timeline, sustainable transport scenario, and a rationale that attempts to show why humanity should go to space. Comments welcome.

message 43: by Richard (last edited Oct 29, 2014 01:56AM) (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Just got around to reading that scale Jelena posted, and I love it. Egg analogy works well. I think 'diamond hard' is what I strive for, but as my work is advocacy rather than a balanced exposition, I cheat a little, especially on timeline. My analogy for timing is the railway system here in the UK. The first scheduled passenger service was in 1815, and fifty years later every village in England had a wee station. Once each expansion of the system makes more money than it costs, growth follows the classic S-curve.

message 44: by G.G. (last edited Oct 29, 2014 10:23AM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 200 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "I know this whole thread isn't about my books, but it might be a good place to talk about a difficulty I have. How to introduce tech. I've had a few comments on a line early in my book where I say ..."

About cell phones: You can barely see anyone on the street or driving, without the stupid cell phone glued to their ear so it would make perfect sense that in 2060 the device would be implanted in the ear if not in the brain.

FTL: I have no problem writing about it since I write from the POV of an alien. We don't know the technology, and to say that it's impossible could be compared to believing that the Earth is still flat. It's not because we, earthlings, don't know how to do it that no other races in the universe can't.

Alien races: (Sorry this one is a little bit aimed at Richard 2060 :P). Why should all races be called things like Kbbbtz? I know you are conservative and like the nowadays sci-fi, but then you certainly know about the ones we call 'the Greys', the 'Nordics', the 'Reptilians' etc? Ok they are not names given by those 'allegedly existing' aliens but still.
If you prefer TV, take StarTrek for example and the Vulcans. Doesn't sound Kbbbtz at all. :P

In the end, I believe in creativity, originality, and in freedom of choice. I won't stop reading a book because the names are readable, heck, the ones in my own stories are readable.

Over all I am a huge fan of Sci-fi but not the hard sci-fi. Most of the time there is too much explanation in it that I can live without and they are also usually more story driven than character driven. I have a preference for the latter although I've read numerous of the first kind. Anyway, all that to say give me a great story and make the whole thing plausible and I'm in heaven.

message 45: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Sorry, GG, the Kbbt remark was meant to be a joke, clearly didn't work. What I was saying was the Dannae, in that particular sentence, looked like a name, adding to my confusion. Perhaps "The Dannae" would be clearer.

message 46: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Ah, alien race names! Vulcans and Romulans always made me wonder: Is that what they are truly called or did the humans find their names so unpronouncable that they ascribed ancient Greek mythology to them?
I have a space alien series on the horizon and my naming convention is to throw letters together until they form a word that conveys (to the English speaking mind) a general impression of the race. For example, military types might have a gutteral name with lots of hard consonants and peaceful utopians might have names with lots of soft consonants and be heavy on the vowels.

Okay, not a science conversation necessarily, but xenocentrism does seem to be a sci-fi stumbling block for some.

message 47: by Jeno (last edited Oct 29, 2014 11:59AM) (new)

Jeno (jenomarz) | 52 comments G.G. wrote: "Why should all races be called things like Kbbbtz?"

Richard 2060 wrote: "Sorry, GG, the Kbbt remark was meant to be a joke, clearly didn't work. What I was saying was the Dannae, in that particular sentence, looked like a name, adding to my confusion. Perhaps "The Danna..."

Come on folks, this stuff is two days old already. Moving on. ;-)

On a side note, "Danna" without "the" is interchangeable with "Humans". That first line could have been said like "Humans are a species of..." you wouldn't say "The Humans". Semantics hurts.

Christina wrote: "xenocentrism does seem to be a sci-fi stumbling block for some"

I write purely xenocentric sf. Not a single human character. So far my readers had a positive experience.

Speaking of names, I have a half-developed con-language, which is helpful for creating names and words, and some other basic stuff for my aliens. I didn't venture further in development of the whole thing, because I'm not a linguist. Maybe some time later I will complete it. But at least my alien alphabet makes sense to the eye and is quite intuitive. That was a fun experience.

message 48: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Christina wrote: "Ah, alien race names! Vulcans and Romulans always made me wonder: Is that what they are truly called or did the humans find their names so unpronouncable that they ascribed ancient Greek mythology ..."

What I found odd about Vulcans is that Gene Roddenberry decided to give an alien race the name of a planet once thought to exist within the orbit of Mercury.

message 49: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments Christina wrote: "I have a space alien series on the horizon and my naming convention is to throw letters together until they form a word that conveys (to the English speaking mind) a general impression of the race. "

I like to draw tiles from a scrabble bag and form a name from whatever letters I get.

message 50: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments I bet there's an app for that.

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