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The Science and Sci-fi Questions Thread:

 26 Matues, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:10:18 PM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
So, world building? Plot? Characters?

What is it you desire?
The rain in Spain tend to drain the brain of sane.
 27 Twentington, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:14:33 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]Yes, yes, and yes. I have a vague quasi-plot for my two main characters, in that the lead male grew up in a big foster family that included his three other biological sisters, and his wife comes from a rich family.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 28 Crystal Glacia, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:17:04 PM from Cedarpointland
listen
I don't know enough about any of them.

That's why I said 'read up on them', not 'sit down right this moment and start talking about what you like and dislike about cyberpunk'. Instead of always saying 'I don't know what that is' in response to scifi terms, try reading a little bit on it first. Research might as well be the backbone of writing- the more you know, the more you can write about.
 29 Twentington, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:22:34 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]I've tried that already. I've had like five or six works recommened to me, and none of them did anything. They just confused the crap out of me 10-15 minutes in.

ETA: I think I see it as kinda cyberpunk, but not heavy on the dystopia. But again, none of the works I've looked up grab me.

edited 23rd Feb '13 8:29:19 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 30 Crystal Glacia, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:39:44 PM from Cedarpointland
listen
If nothing else, know what features are endemic to sci-fi, what they mean, and how they've been used. This very wiki and its examples are a big help with that.

Reading some science news or following SciShow wouldn't hurt, either. Science is ever-evolving, after all.
 31 Matues, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:40:24 PM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
Then take your time. Make notes.

Somethings must be grasped by oneself.
The rain in Spain tend to drain the brain of sane.
 32 Taira Mai, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 8:42:16 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
SfDebris has several good example of how to do sci-fi good and bad. If you're not a Trek fan, it's still good to see how a science fiction show could be so lauded and how Voyager and Enterprise tore that down.

And he's funny too!
 33 Twentington, Sat, 23rd Feb '13 9:12:12 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
I... think it's closest to Cyberpunk in my head? Cyberpunk and some elements of space opera, minus the actual "being in space" part?

That's probably it. The other works recommended to me weren't what I wanted, I guess.

edited 24th Feb '13 2:28:53 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 34 Twentington, Mon, 25th Feb '13 9:25:54 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]El bumpo.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 35 Alma, Mon, 25th Feb '13 11:12:57 PM from Coruscant Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
The Harbinger of Strange
Do you have any works that come to mind when you think of what you want yours to be? Something that makes you go "I want my story to be THAT"? You know, without plagiarizing. smile For example, I want mine to have the starfish aliens of Known Space and the outer space horror of Event Horizon, to name a few things. Look for things to inspire you... Listening to the band Alien Vampires was very helpful in building up my story in my mind and cultivating a (somewhat) unique "aesthetic".

Cyberpunk and some elements of space opera, minus the actual "being in space" part?

Is "sci-fi opera" a thing? Make it a thing. Also, cyberpunk doesn't preclude space travel... Neuromancer is one of the seminal cyberpunk works and a large part of the book is spent on board a space resort.

edited 25th Feb '13 11:13:11 PM by Alma

You need an adult.
 36 Twentington, Mon, 25th Feb '13 11:42:11 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Do you have any works that come to mind when you think of what you want yours to be?

No. I'm completely out of the loop here. I saw the first four Star Wars movies, but I remember literally nothing from them since I was a 10-year-old assburger with no attention span or ability to process things like plot, storytelling, and characterization. And that's literally it. Nothing else whatsoever that would remotely qualify as sci-fi has ever come my way.

Then why am I doing it? Well, I had the characters, a friend said "why not do this with them?" and I said Sure, Why Not? without realizing what I was getting into.

Also, cyberpunk doesn't preclude space travel

But I envision what I have as not being in space, hence that disclaimer. Nothing wrong with space stuff, but it just doesn't seem to fit what I want.

edited 25th Feb '13 11:44:09 PM by Twentington

Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 37 Taira Mai, Tue, 26th Feb '13 12:22:04 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
[up]Watch Blade Runner, Dark Angel and read some William Gibson novels. Cyberpunk and Post-cyberpunk ask questions about technology, humans and how they relate to technology and how that shapes society.

Consider memories and identity:

  • One of my characters is an illegal (in the 'verse) "upload", she died in a car accident and her well meaning parents had her mind copied into a bio-android.
    • Is she their daughter? Or an AI that thinks it's a 17 year old girl? Does it matter?
    • Is this illegal because it's immoral or because it questions what it means to be human?

  • Another character is the child of a transhuman woman and her Robotic Spouse. What Measure Is a Non-Human? She's torn between her machine nature and her human emotions.

  • And this character, a ridiculously human robot who loves humanity with all her "heart": she has flaws and was made by flawed human beings and sent into battle by flawed human beings. Yet she sees democracy as utopia because humans are special
    • She remembers when her kind were considered mere robots and not sentient beings.
    • And she runs smack into the characters above, for drama of course.

Yes, it's set in space but it doesn't have to be (I like space and I can do things I can't do in a contemporary setting).

Science Fiction has, and will always be, asking What if?

I got these ideas after watching Sf Debris review Star Trek, Babylon 5, Evangelion, Alien, Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner. he takes them apart and shows how they work. My 'Verse will wear it's shout outs and tropes on it's sleeve, because I'm a nerdy girl.

Feel free to be inspired but you don't have to copy. Change it up, mash, mix, deconstruct and/or reconstruct, genre throwback or break new ground.

The possibilities are endless.

edited 26th Feb '13 12:33:43 AM by TairaMai

 38 Twentington, Tue, 26th Feb '13 6:46:34 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]Okay, I have… um, four siblings raised by a foster family… what now?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 39 Taira Mai, Tue, 26th Feb '13 8:56:14 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
Exactly, what now?

  • Who are they?

  • Aside from foster kids, what are they? (normal people, transhuman, unfrozen kids etc).

  • Why are they in a foster family?

questions like that.
 40 Twentington, Tue, 26th Feb '13 9:11:32 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]Four Petting Zoo Person otters for whom I can't seem to pin down a characterization other than the vaguest of epithets.

The hell is a transhuman?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 41 Matues, Tue, 26th Feb '13 11:59:12 PM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
[up]

From our very own wiki..

Transhumans, sometimes called Posthumans, are people who have exceeded the normal mental and physical abilities. The "how" that happened can be anything from magic to science, the only thing that's common among all of them is that they are better than was possible before.

Transhuman
The rain in Spain tend to drain the brain of sane.
 42 Twentington, Thu, 28th Feb '13 11:01:22 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]Okay, how would gyms and restaurants be futurey and sciencey? Some of my characters own the former, and some own the latter.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 43 Taira Mai, Fri, 1st Mar '13 2:09:07 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
[up] Future food is artificial: kelp crackers? Beef a luxury of the rich?

Gyms won't change, there might be stuff like P-90X and TRX workouts, supplements that actually work dispensed by vending machines. There will still be gym bunnies (the dumb jock who lives in the gym) only they'll have smartphones to take selfies and compare reps and talk about protein stacks.

It's all up to you.

edited 1st Mar '13 7:50:48 PM by TairaMai

 44 Alma, Fri, 1st Mar '13 4:24:33 AM from Coruscant Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
The Harbinger of Strange
Alternatively: No gyms. Either high-tech liposuction is the order of the day, or people are bred in labs to be healthy and beautiful.

"Progress is made by the lazy man trying to find easier ways to do things." Thus it's likely that instead of having higher-quality supplements that make exercising more efficient or better for the body, science will find a way to shortcut the process altogether. The magic diet pill doesn't exist now, but it might in the future.
You need an adult.
 45 Twentington, Fri, 1st Mar '13 2:26:16 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up][up]I always thought Future Food Is Artificial was a stupid trope, ever since I saw it in a Garfield kids' book a long time ago. (I was still a kid, okay?)

[up]That approach wouldn't work since a couple of my characters are overweight. (Which I admit is a bit of Author Appeal.)
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 46 Taira Mai, Fri, 1st Mar '13 8:18:25 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
And? They still have to diet. So they fight the battle of the bulge with smartphone/tablets, pills, vitamins and diets they get from the 'Net. The doctor can text them a food plan and maybe even use their phone like a tricorder to see how well they're doing.

 47 nrjxll, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 9:37:37 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Ignoring the sadly-standard melodrama... I need a primer on aliens and human food. Specifically:

  • Is Alien Catnip plausible? If so, to what extent?
  • What would be the exact determiners of what an individual species of aliens could or could not eat out of Earth food? Is it an all or nothing deal?
  • What would be the precise probable results of eating something incompatible with your species?

 48 Major Tom, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 10:14:07 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
What would be the precise probable results of eating something incompatible with your species?

Try eating clay and document your (predictable) reaction.

As the old adage goes, if it wasn't meant to be eaten by you it will come back up.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
 49 Taira Mai, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 2:39:36 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
What about chirality?

A proteins fold is very important, fold one way it's food, fold another way it's waste. Mirror a protein and your body may think it's tasty, but it will just be voided. You'd starve with a room full of food that's "left handed".

Don't forget what happens when you mix food with different microbes. Water on Earth from different sources (that hasn't been filtered) can breed nasty microbes.
 50 Wolf 1066, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 3:47:21 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
It's most likely that even aliens based on carbon as we are would have completely alien biologies and our proteins and their's would be incompatible, regardless of what they taste like.

This would also mean that our viruses and bacteria would find the aliens "unpalatable", as would theirs find us.

We wouldn't be able to eat each other's food but we needn't fear that the water (provided it's devoid of chemical contaminination) is undrinkable.

Water would probably be the only thing that both species have in common.

Different amino acids, different DNA, different proteins or similar proteins but folded differently - would all work to make our food as inedible to them as theirs is to us.

It also means that they can't come here and eat us as well (but if they wanted to wipe us out, don't count on the Common Cold taking them down for us.)
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
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