Warning: long post with some amount of going on about my own works.
To some extent, I've done
this in my comics - there is no Fish out of Temporal Water
, but "Genre Savvy
SF nerd protagonists in not-quite-Standard Sci Fi Setting
" is a fairly accurate description of that particular genre of the comics (there's three others
), and a Whole Plot Reference
to Babylon 5
makes up an important part of the latter portion of the comics.
As far as how my own experience relates to your "two" main problems:
It needs to be reasonably hard Sci Fi because we have scientists and engineers as the protagonists, who will be hanging lampshades everywhere. Of course, this can be handled via a couple of "Everything We Currently Know About The Universe Is A Lie" moments, such as showing the characters someone turning into a cat.
This is something I dealt with quite a bit - basically, while things are not
super-hard in my comics, I made sure to do away with plenty of common genre tropes that have no glaring reason to be there
- space is neither 2-D
nor an overused and tired nautical metaphor
- and tried to explore others with a a bit more thought then usual - for instance, while Interspecies Romance
very much occurs among humanoid species, there are some actual physical difficulties
even among highly similar species, and children are not remotely a possibility.
For that matter, while Humanoid Aliens
absolutely exist, I tried to avoid treating them as just funny-looking humans either mentally or physically.
The freaking scale and how to deal with the sheer size of the setting. I heard there are some settings that managed galazy-wide civilizations without FTL, and I'm curious as to how they managed it.
This really depends on individual settings, but I'd note first that Star Trek
itself does not have anything resembling a galaxy-wide civilization.
How to deal with the extremely Genre Savvy protagonists. Stuff such as the Law Of Conservation Of Detail and Checkovs Gun, or You Can't Thwart Stage One, or other conventions, they help a writer make the work a ploshed, concise experience, but these guys will see plot devices coming a mile away. It can be funny, but it can make it troublesome to make a story better than an interactive MST, especially if I ever dare try to make a Whole Plot Reference or a pastiche of some sort.
The first thing to note is that there's a distinct difference between what I think of as "setting" and "story" tropes. Having your characters be very aware of setting
tropes - those related to what's in your 'verse - is logical and quite likely to be funny. However, unless your characters have Medium Awareness
of some kind, just because they're Genre Savvy
doesn't mean they're going to be aware of plot devices. For instance, if I buy an umbrella and it later starts raining, I'm not going to then conclude that the umbrella was a Chekhov's Gun
. If your characters don't believe they are in a story
, they aren't going to be looking for plot devices no matter how much fiction they've read.
And as for Whole Plot References
and the like, it really depends on how you execute them. For instance, my aforementioned Whole Plot Reference
to Babylon 5
was not having the show's events play out again in my setting
. What it was about is a little complicated to summarize here
, but the part that's most relevant to your idea is that it was an exploration of an Ascended Fanboy
who found himself in a series of events that superficially
looked like he'd fallen into his favorite show, but typically were quite different under the surface. Similarly, in your work, you could explore just how a couple of Trekkies would
react if they suddenly found themselves in a future where pointed-eared logic-loving aliens had made contact with humanity, yet that future wasn't quite the same as that of their show.
The Singularity: either I need to find some reason, no matter how contrived, for it not having happened before the characters were catapulted into the future... or I'd have to make it partial, as in, there are still baseline humans just like our protagonists roaming around. I'm not really sure I can think around the social and intellectual inequalities in a civilization like that, and I haven't read anything yet to "prime" me.
This wasn't an issue for me personally, as my comics take place just ahead of the present day (although it features very
heavily in the sequel I'm working on), but one thing to note is that most of the works you'll be riffing on are really not that far in the future - 200, 300 years or so - and I think it's entirely reasonable that it won't have happened by then (I very much disagree with the "hard takeoff" singularity proponents). As for the idea of a "partial" singularity, I think that it would be highly unlikely to create a
civilization - for instance, you might have the posthumans in the old core of your human civilization, while the baselines are still out there on the edges of the expansion. This is pretty common in transhuman SF.
edited 12th Oct '11 7:04:06 PM by nrjxll