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I have the strangest idea for a fanfic... or is it:

Love Saves
It's basically a sort of merge between The Big Bang Theory and Galaxy Quest (which itself is a Star Trek Affectionate Parody). Basically, you take a cast of extreme nerd-scientists, such as the guys in The Big Bang Theory but not nearly identical, and throw them (somehow) into a Fish Out of Temporal Water into a far future resembling the one in Star Trek... but with some Deconstruction twists here and there. The one thing that frightens me (and excites me) the most with trying to write stories in such a huge setting would be the possibility to plagiate elements from other settings, such as a Horde of Alien Locusts (the Bugs, the Tyranids, the Zerg... there's much to copy and twist)), Power-armored amphibian human assault units, superwise snooty alien immortals (who may or may not be obsessed with keeping their extreme emotions in check)... You can also addd independent freelance mercenaries and smugglers... And of course humans might have developed their mental and physical abilities far beyond what we have in the present day, not just through transhumanism, but also through the widespread development of skills of clear thinking.

So, it's not for lack of material, but the two main problems with making this setting work are:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

One of the most troublesome things with such an idea is that the protagonists aren't completely clueless. They aren't The Everyman. They aren't The Arthur Dent. They have extremely open minds for what's coming for them. They'r curious about the world around them, and want to unravel it's secrets and play with all the awesome new toys. They might be primed in the wrong directions (like Shinji in Shinji And Warhammer 40 K was primed to think in 40K terms when the Evangelion setting couldn't be more different, at least before he started messing with it, or Harry in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, who seems to think of his journey as some RPG quest), but at least they'll try to think ahead ant take the initiative, instead of being pinball characters who just get balloted around by the plot (a common criticism of Harry Potter, especially the earlier books).

Think of it as taking someone very well-versed in the knowledge of their era, but still young enough to learn, and bringing them to the modern day. People like Leonardo Davinci, Seneca, Aristotle, Averroes, Euclides, Niccolò Machiavelli, Lord Byron, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla... I don't think they'll just sit around and wait for people to tell them what to do. They'll want to find out about stuff and people. They'll also notice they're remarkably short. A bit like the Savage from Brave New World, they'll have to overcome a sense of morality that, to the people of the future, might either feel like bigoted prejudice, stupidity... or depravity, as it were (not all historical evolution of morality was in the direction of "less rules").

All in all, I really don't feel confident enough to do this... but the possibilities are so attractive.
 2 jagillette, Wed, 12th Oct '11 7:28:20 AM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
Well if you don't feel confident enough to tackle this on your own, there are a couple options available to you:

1) Be more confident! When I'm not confident, I stop being not confident and be awesome instead. True story.

2) Maybe someone will volunteer to collaborate with you.

3) Donate this idea to the Plotbunny Shelter. Maybe it'll get picked up. Or you could donate it to the Shelter with the addendum that you'd prefer to work cooperatively with someone.

And as for the concerns about plagiarism, it's obviously always a valid concern, but it's good to remember that there's a clear line between using a well-established trope and ripping off one specific idea from another source. As long as the tropes you use have your own unique spin put on them and their own distinctive feel and flavor, you'll probably be fine.

Anyway, good luck with this little project.
Love Saves
Just one question: is there a way to make this (or any other) work fit Fanfiction.net's requirements while being original enough to be published afterwards with minor changes/rewrite?
 4 Trotzky, Wed, 12th Oct '11 8:10:57 AM from 3 km North of Torchwood
Lord high Xecutioner
If it is a straight Big Bang Theory meets Trek cross-over, then that is fine for Fan fic net.

If you plan it to be original then use different characters. Real Scientists being Sci-Fi fans is Truth in Television.

The Big-Bang gang are about to go to a sci-fi convention. Sheldon is delaying, he wants to finish his latest invention before they leave. Sheldon presses the button. There is a flash of light.

They are on a Star Ship. They assume that they are at the convention everyone is impressed by the detailed work. Sheldon nit-picks. Raj remembers some obscure reference, so the ship is correct after all.

edited 12th Oct '11 8:11:47 AM by Trotzky

Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!
Love Saves
Oh god I so need a collaborator on this. I'm very familiar with Big Bang, 40K, Bebop and Dune, but I know just a little about Starcraft (never finished the tutorials of either game), or Trek (the 2009 movie and a couple of episodes of TNG). I'd figure they'd start at Trek because the Federation is a very hospitable place for a beginner, but the Bigbangers are extremely savvy about Trek, so there's no way I could do that opening properly... at least by myself.
 6 Ronka 87, Wed, 12th Oct '11 9:35:07 AM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
It is illegal to publish fanfiction for profit, unless the work your fic is based on is in the public domain. So, if you plan on publishing your story as original fiction, you have to excise or change the parts you borrowed from other works.

That being said, some of the concepts you're talking about are so broad they can be used without any legal worry. You might get accused of ripping of X thing or rehashing an overused trope (space marine is heading this way, I feel), but that happens. There's nothing new under the sun, we're all influenced by the works we've seen before, good writers borrow great writers steal, blah blah assorted cliches.

If you're not familiar with a work, don't parody or homage it. Either learn about the thing or cut the idea and move on to something you're familiar with. Honestly, I doubt you'll find a collaborator willing to help you write your random crossover fanfic, so don't get caught up in that. Work on it on your own.
Thanks for the all fish!
Love Saves
Any fan of Star Trek can give me a list of the most important things I should see to understand the setting well? As for the Starcraft, I guess I'll just watch the campaing vids.

The main reason I'd make it a fanfic is for the quick feedback from a broad, knowledgeable audience. What are my alternatives if I want to write an original?

edited 12th Oct '11 10:14:22 AM by PacificState

Join a writing workshop. Or go to other forums online where they may specialize in that sort of thing. Ask questions. Lots of questions.

This honestly doesn't sound like a fanfic. You're taking inspiration and some broad ideas from two shows and putting them together using similar tropes used in other works that did something similar. Where's the fanfiction in that?

Feedback is like food. It can be good, but it may not be quick. Contrariwise, it can be quick, but not necessarily good.

Do some Google or other online searches for local writing workshops. There may be some local ones near you, with people your age and/or experience, that want the same thing: honest feedback. Meetup.com may help with that sort of thing as well; I've seen plenty of writing groups and gatherings on there before.

Something like that might get you what you want, and for free (most likely) to boot.

edited 12th Oct '11 1:32:51 PM by Newfable

 11 nrjxll, Wed, 12th Oct '11 7:02:56 PM Relationship Status: Not war
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

Love Saves
Wow! Thanks, that was helpful.

... Would you like to be a critic of mine?
 13 Ronka 87, Thu, 13th Oct '11 8:35:49 AM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
Do you even have anything written yet? Asking for reviewers when you haven't started your project is kinda presumptuous.
Thanks for the all fish!
Love Saves
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound presumptuous. I'm just very insecure and in a bit of a panic, and sort of aping what I think I've seen other tropers do around this section. Honestly I feel a bit like a deer in the headlights, and I'm sort of really really embarassed about seeking help like this.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 14
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