beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
My first fandom, with conventions, mailing lists, and fanfic, was Highlander. That's where I got both my icon and my tattoo. I haven't rewatched it for a while, partly on the sneaking suspicion it might not be as good as the good bits version in my head, but it did shape me.

I build a character by choosing their weapon. It don't have to be a sword, or even a tool of violence, but whatever it is, it will be very specific. Each weapon has a specific use, a culture and community who used it, a history, a heritage. Their use was learned somewhere, and perfected over time as that particular tool seemed suited for that character's tasks.

Highlander was big on flashbacks. Read more... )

So I learned from Highlander that every character has history. Which seems pretty obvious. But a lot of shows, just by only telling the present, they make it seem like a character's life started in the pilot episode, or at least the interesting bit. Read more... )

A character's journey, historic and geographic, will influence which ideas they carry as well as the tools they use. And it can be very, very specific. Read more... )

And that kind of depth and detail is an absolute bugger to build into a created 'verse, fantasy or SF. It's hard enough to show what a world is like now, but it'll feel like a paper backdrop until it can give the impression it had a journey to get that way.

It's tempting to leave an individual in a holding pattern before the story gets started. Read more... )

I sat down to write this just to say that I think the space colony series I've been planning could benefit from flashbacks. Read more... )

Buuuuuut, presence of extensive flashbacks does not automatically endear a show to me. And even shows I like can have (interminable) flashbacks I could do without. I think the tricky bit is to keep it both relevant and fresh, despite it being the past. If the same thing happens in every flashback, bored now. And it's nice to see what made a character the person they are today, but it's tricky to get the right speed of revelation and to keep it tied to the plot of the week.

I'm also thinking about arc vs self contained stories. If one timeframe is arc and the other is self contained, does that compliment or drag at each other? Read more... )

The thing with my space colony though, I was going to use fanfic characters to give it depth of background, only to adapt them to this setting which is kind of a fusion or AU then I'd need to retell the most significant bits of their lives. New old friends, yes? Even if I used familiar names we'd need to get to know them twice, who they were in the fusion backstory and who they are in the ongoing plot. Read more... )

I keep telling myself that I haven't started writing this thing because if I just let it stew a bit longer it might be possible to file serial numbers off and make it proper original. Actually at the moment I have two slightly different offworld colony stories that just don't mesh, one with capertillers and Welsh stone circles and a very British cast, the other with a straight up Stargate setting. The Stargate one is always going to be fanfic, but right now it's merely a mess of a multi fandom fusion that I can't imagine anyone would read, and with a bit of polish it might be spin off series level original. The two series don't quite mesh, but they do both deal with disability and some magic cures. And I know that nobody hesitates to write different Being Masculine On a Starship stories, but I'm hesitating over different Being Disabled in a Space Colony stories, even though the differences are not things I could smush together. One is a low character point low resources ordinary people story, the other a high power vast resources big politics tale that draws on comic book characters and Star Trek level competence. They don't match, they don't go the same places, I kind of want to tell both, I stall on telling either.

I stall on putting one word next to another, and whenever I notice that, instead of opening a file and trying it, I just talk myself into a woe spiral about how maybe I'm not a writer after all. Blergh.

Or, as you may notice, pontificate at length in meta.

i'm going to post this and get breakfast. it's only 1530, i've been up since 0730, that's a totally reasonable interval before breakfast...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Random thought about my Stargate space colony: it's supposed to be funded mainly by mining.
And I have decided that any story that could involve giving actors jobs should have at least one character of restricted growth.

... 7 mining technicians just introduced themselves, and I can't decide if it's a terrible idea...

see I decided to make more roles for short actors after I saw a documentary that featured some people who have spent their entire careers in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Years and years and years. In the same panto. Sometimes playing a different dwarf. I cannot even imagine how tired you get of the hi ho song. ... actually that probably applies even without being an actor.

... but, mining, and my current approach to characters of 'fanfic all the things'...

also, if I'm playing with the sarcophagus, there's plots about what constitutes healing and how disability is constructed and how it impacts / interacts with identity. Like, there's some ways of ending up short that might be 'healed', and others that would not, if the sarc takes a pattern from genetics and then resets everything to that specification. so a group of people to have different experiences would be helpful.

... but possibly still *facepalm* of me for thinking of it...

It's a story I was going to do in the Rhodri 'verse, only if you start with 200 colonists you can bring more variety from the get go and do the same story lots of different ways at once.

There's the thing where any story I sit down and make words on is a better story than the ones that never get made, but that only applies to the making of them, not the releasing them into the wild.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
My brain is super helpful. So I end up with weird math in the space tag. Possibly also rhodri or stargate tags? I should have thought of a consistent tag if I ever wanted to find it all again.

So I worked out that a single stargate activation could easily let through 200 standard shipping containers, the artics carrying them, and whatever passengers fitted in the cabs. Or, of course, a shipping container full of people, but I'm making lines to color inside, so say each colonist brings one container and a theoretical 25 tons of cargo plus their personal backpack load. Then the lorries unload, turn around, dial home, and drive back.

Read more... )

200 people with stories that hook into sarcophagus use and leaving to build a new world.

Who would you bring?

... and how many others would they bring, on ice, on the hope?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

I plan space colonies.  And the simplest place to put them is the Stargate universe, because many many many planets, often with basically just trees, actual empty land, all in walking distance.  But I keep wanting to drop favourite characters from other ‘verses there, so I end up with this epic complex fusion where everyone gets to play.

Read more... )

Somehow epic multiverse fusions feel more like cheating somewhere?


Also, there’s the usual problem with xovers, where you feel like it ought to appeal to people who like fandom A and people who like fandom b, but really it only works for people who like A and B, and then the more letters you add the further you shrink your reader pool.

Yet this is how the inside of my head works.

Of course if you steal from enough sources and stir hard enough and tweak every single character, say to the disabled version, then you are getting mighty close to original fic.  Or original characters in an SG1 fic.  But if I set it somewhere other than SG1… it would actually be one of my other ‘verses of original fic that I worked through the setting of the other year, with not-a-stargate and capertillers that move in to your brain and a combined sarc and suspended animation with brain backups and VR.

So I guess this is one of those times I’m trying to figure if an idea is better as fanfic or original fic, or if they are in fact two ideas for two different stories.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was trying to figure out what my barely terraformed planet would be like, so I found which countries have the lowest population densities and figured it would be like Australia, Canada and Mongolia.

But I have been thinking it's even more complicated than that, because on this planet those places can do imports. If your entire planet is Australia and Canada and Mongolia, you could only import from other places that are also not known for their massive food exports.

I found a video on YouTube about Eat Canadian because cheap imports are making the farms go away. Exports are in the hundreds of thousands and imports are in the billions. For each food group or something. I don't know, large numbers just boggle me. So anyways, Canada gets a lot of food sent to it. A LOT. So what would Canada be like if it didn't have all that imports? I guess it would be like a century ago when there wasn't so much flying food around the world. There was much less people in Canada a century ago. I don't know if I could find a map with the population marked on it, but that would be handy.

That video also said that there's places paving their farmland to make more city. I'd say that sounds unwise, but I don't know where British food comes from at all. Probably we made more city over the top of a lot of it. Getting food from far away only works in conditions where there's tons of fuel around. Which isn't going to be true for very long. If you've build over the top of your food while you happened to have a lot of transport, that looks like trouble waiting to happen.

Growing enough food for everyone local would be really a BIG lot more food than the way we do it at the moment.

When I design spaceships the GURPS rules just say have an open space and call it farming. They don't even say how much open space you need to feed how many people. They're all lalala we have food now ONWARDS! Which I can see in a game meant to be about sneaking around stealing things or shooting people or other such active and glamorous pursuits. But food is a huge big deal in the real world. You can make plenty of adventure about food. But a lot of it would be really quite slow.

So if they're an advanced biotech planet then maybe they have food the way spaceships do, everyone has a food room and boxes that grow food for them, simples.

But they'd still need power and water to do it. I know some places have geothermal power and some places have solar power but nowhere on the planet has fossil fuels because the planet hasn't been alive long enough to have fossils. Let alone flammable ones. Also I was going to say they can't scrape together enough glowy rocks for nuclear power, but apparently I need to find out how planets work first, because complicated. It's easy to say they don't have as much metal as they want, it's not so easy to say how that would end up working or how planets would form like that.

ANYways... on spaceships power, water and food is pretty simples, there's power plants and water floating around and they grow food for themselves. But it's only simples because the rules don't want to spend all the time thinking about it. Planets do not find it simple. Planets spend a lot of their time making enough food. So I'm inventing a planet, and trying to imagine just growing all their own food in difficult conditions. Their advanced biotech would be retained just to make sure there's enough good eating. And it would not be simple at all.

When they come visit our planet, I can't decide if they'd be wow about supermarkets, or kind of grossed out. So much waste!
... probably wow that turns to guilt when they discover the inefficiencies.

They'd also want to buy one of each of everything, buy plants and animals and get all the codes. Because very rich biosphere, even after what we've been doing to it. Space neighbours could get Very Serious about conservation, because it would be the kind of stuff that's worth going to a different planet, finding a unique biosphere full of things your planet never grew. If all their tech is bio then they'd value our bio more than we do, like seeing people sitting on a heap of gold and persistently turning it into lead. So they'd want to come and visit and collect all kinds of everything.

Stone circle gates aren't going to work well enough or often enough to do mass import/export like with food, they could only do samples. Like if the Enterprise could only send a shuttle once a day. And then spend a year going to the next planet. Which is a pretty reasonable set of constraints for real exploration, just a lot slower than television stories bother being.

I can see why people on a poor planet would invent VR. If it is difficult to make enough food they might end up with really boring food. And if it is difficult to transport stuff they couldn't go visit the neighbours very much. Virtual Reality and some good networking be much more efficient. Have all the good stuff, save on resource use. They wouldn't be trapped in the Matrix necessarily, just if everyone woke up they'd need a lot more stuff to go around. Wake up and starve isn't a good plan.

It's really hard to think of a world with no imports and exports and no neighbours. It's not even like hitting rewind, there were some for all the history times, even if not much. To have your whole world be what you brought with you... not easy to imagine at all.
beccaelizabeth: animated: audience in a TV studio turned into big bunnies (bunnies audience animation)
I've been bouncing ideas around for the summer writing project.
I'll be reading for my dissertation, but since that involves reading about Doctor Who, it will be reading I've happily done other summers also.
So I'm trying to decide, finish last summer's novel, or start a new script?

I'd have to get up to speed on last summer's novel again. I haven't thought about it much since college restarted. I know I liked it while I was thinking it up, but *shrugs* if it's any good for reals. Also it's more than 50K words of first draft. And about a quarter of the way through the plot.

A script has an upper limit on size, so in theory I can finish it in a single summer.

Except I have enough bunny for the whole season, so, not so much with the finishing.

Also I'm not sure it's all scripts. I started doing short stories for some of the characters and there's interesting bits that work that way too.

I was thinking about where the other stargates lead. Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
While figuring cool ways for magic to work in my VR I said that when magic that can effect more than just yourself is enabled a group of 10 people get it, no exceptions. I said that you can't Highlander your way through that group, there can never be only 1.

But just now I dreamed there were 3 of Duncan MacLeod, and one of Richie despite him having died at his teacher's hand once.

Read more... )

So anyways, I woke up from this dream and saw it as how Highlander could work in the VR. Duncan MacLeod has been challenging others like him and taking their power - by overwriting them, copying himself so there's a bunch of him. Once he accidentally ripped Richie, but he could sacrifice himself, or an independent copy of himself, or for that matter someone else he'd just defeated, and copy what he carried of Richie back into them. Then R would have died and come back, but he'd know he's probably lost something on the way, become more what his Teacher believed him to be, for good and ill.

I wouldn't want this power to be common or simple. If there's 10 people out of two hundred thousand walking around doing this, that's a lot. They aren't Immortals though, because everyone's immortal in VR. Or they would be, without this tweak. They're mortality. They are Death.

And someone probably made them quite deliberately, as weapons.

How they feel about that person gets interesting.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I had decided that my biotech world was terraformed, but not an easy place to live. Soil was a new and ongoing process, rainfall and climate temperature stopped being controlled ten thousand years ago and everything got colder than planned, people were getting by but not very numerous.
I also said it looks like Britain, because cheap.

But the UK is the second most densely populated country in the European Union, and 53rd in the world, or 12th most dense of countries with more than 10 million people. (I've been on wiki again. Lists are fun.) There are 255 people per km2 (how do you make the little 2 in hmtl?). It's kind of difficult to get from there to a sparse, empty world. Takes a lot of imagining.

Canada, which as we know is what most of the universe looks like, has a population density of 3.5 people/km2.
That's 3 and a half, compared to two hundred and fifty five.
It is probably easier to imagine in Canada.

Read more... )

Okay, I know a bit what the planet is like now. Canada and Australia, but like when the world had 1/8 of the people. Then add internet.

That's not very precise, but it is a bit funny. All the stuff filmed there makes all the planets look like that. I just got there with logics.

VR magic

Mar. 9th, 2012 04:25 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been thinking on how magic shall work in my virtual reality world. The one run in 100 brains linked by a giant capertiller.
The GURPS rules books for VR just says run it like an alternate universe. So it can have any rules. So I could just use the Magic rules as written. But then I would have nothing to think on when I'm insomniac or attempting to stay awake through the day time.

So, I was thinking on rules for VR. Read more... )

Thinking up lists of spells known in VR and how difficult they are to learn would take a bit of a while. And probably end up unbalanced and not so cool. Simpler to say magic works in the usual way, or just as the plot demands.
But that doesn't give you any skeleton to climb around on.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I keep on inventing more sides for this 'verse. Like, it's not just people from Earth vs people from the biotech world. There's six different biotech people in the biotech adventure party and they all have a different reason for being there.

I haven't got very deep into those reasons yet, Read more... )

But then there's the City itself. As far as the City is concerned the Earth people and the biotech people are just as foreign. They're all ten thousand years distant. So that's three sides with multiple factions each.

And then within the City there are the Lost, each and all beings who were rejected by those who evacuated and tried to shut the city behind them. Up to 100 different monsters.

Those are going to be fun to invent.

Read more... )

So every time I invent a monster, I invent it being in a fight with all the other monsters. And the ones that abandoned them, and labelled them all monsters in the first place, they reckoned they were at war with all the actual humans. And that's not even starting on the Mind Emulation citizens. Thousands of MEs, mostly from minds copied before the breakdown, with all sorts of attitudes.

And then there's three sides, human biotech monster, but they fractal into a bazillion sides each.

Plus if the war went to the human purity types on this world, that doesn't mean it did everywhere.

It's more fun thinking this stuff up than writing story down.

At least up to a point. Hopefully the story will need told eventually.

I should maybe not start with what animal to steals or creepy monster to copy.

The basics are all in what they need humanity for, and how they treat them.

Read more... )

Setting up too many conflicts will be as boring as too few. Everything would grind and mash, there'd be no time to explore any particular part, and nothing would ever get resolved. Boring.

I should just stick with the story I have so far: Terran adventure party meets Biotech adventurers, proceed to lost city together, accidentally blow it up. Facilitate escape of crucial part. Who is called Arty. Then must get him back in the box, or go in boxes themselves.

That's plenty of episode. And 14 characters already. Which is very plenty extra many.

Trying to invent the whole universe in advance is not extra helpful.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was looking for pictures of the fountain in the square at the UEA and found a huge great Flikr photoset of UEA architecture
including a whole section of said fountain

See, it is clearly an alien planet, there. Like this view of the ziggurats and the Sainsbury Centre; if you cannot turn that into an awesome alien planet you are not really trying.

I wanted pictures of the fountain because that's clearly where people first appear in the VR. They are water and whoosh up the fountain and form into a person shape and then stand there looking wet and people can tell they just came back to life. Spawn point? I don't play much games and don't know the words.
... yes I keep wandering into corners of story where I don't know the words.

I like the UEA because it doesn't look like it was built for people. It's all squares and high walls and corners and glass that you can't really see through and things built off scale, huge great pillars, massive glass and steel things that look like aircraft belong in them. Dark corners abound. There's stairs everywhere and corners where you've no idea where they're going until you get there. Even the ramps look like they want to eat you. It's like alienation writ in concrete.

And by 'like' I obviously don't mean 'feel warm and hugged and want to spend all my time there'.

But for an alien planet, an SF story that's all about crunching people into constraints, feeling overwhelmed in a new landscape, having technology eat you up? Awesome.

And that's even without the eerie sound FX you get from the wind across all them windows, half way up the library.

My VR looks exactly like my Lost City, but only in that place where it begins. Its so they can avoid initial disorientation. ... and obviously because if we were filming there we'd want to use it as much as possible.

There's also the Forum in Norwich to be the City by the Sea's version of the glass and steel and steps construction. You'd have to get the angles carefully right to not get most of Norwich in the background though. And, unlike the UEA, it is very rarely empty. So not so much great for filming in.

But take the UEA, film at daft hours or in the summer or both, add as few people as possible so they get swallowed up in it all...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I know, math isn't very interesting. I could just lock all these, but then I can only read them signed in, which matters if I'm pondering at college.

But I've been thinking about all the rules tweaks I chose for my Giant Capertiller Gestalt Matrix Computer.
Read more... )

Giant Capertillers are huuuuuuge and Read more... ) can wrap around a whole person.

Capertillers are tiny, and can fit inside large squirrels, let alone ordinary size people. Read more... )

It is probably a good thing that they're optimised for aquatic environments, and can only lump along kind of like a seal on land. You can almost certainly outrun them.

If you see them coming.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I realised where I was making another math error or three in my calculations of the population and capability of my VR world. So I am once again hearing the wake up alarm from the wrong side because I play with silly numbers. But on the plus side it filled up my head enough to push out the usual downward spiral of bad thoughts, which is all I really need from my days.

If I use the rules for gestalt matrix computers, biocomputers, biogadgets, mind emulates, digital minds, VR interfaces and VR managers, plus throw in a rule off a forum for altered time rates, and run the math hopefully correctly this time... I get a very expensive setup, in both money and character points, even if I remember to buy the different mind speeds as altered forms. But I don't mind that because I need the added godlike for the City and there are built in hitches.

The maximum waking population of the virtual reality in the lost city is 197,423.
Very shortly after the meatspace humans arrive, that drops to 19,386, due to their actions.
Safe to say that all 19,386 are seriously unamused.

There is one Artificial Intelligence, a mind that was never human, who developed a personality by accident.
Read more... )

The AI Warden, Jess, though, he has more options. If he makes almost all MEs dormant, he can run ten times faster than real time, even with only 10 brains plugged in. Try to out maneuver a man with godlike IQ who can do ten things in every one second, when you can only do one. He could be awake in there with up to five other people. All ten times faster than us. Better hope they can't do much in meatspace.

Oh, wait, they have up to 85 pissed off allies with meat bodies. Sliiiiiight problem there then.

Read more... )

So, anyway, my Lost City doesn't look very impressive on first glance. It's only as big as the university buildings. If they had an extensive survey of the place they'd still only find around a hundred intelligent bodies. But in the VR there is an actual city, a population in the same ballpark as Norwich.

And the first thing the visitors do is break it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been thinking on naming again.
My series that I wanted to call Offworld or something like that, and the planet they go and find, which has names in half a dozen different languages when they first meet the locals.
Today I realise it's not what the locals call the place that usually sticks, it's what gets written down by the guy who makes a map. And that guy on this expedition is Rhodri. Who speaks Welsh.

I need to name another planet in Welsh.

... aside from the slight difficulty with not speaking Welsh at all, I'm sure that'll simple things up immensely.

Read more... )

But the world they would name early and then see how it wears.
I mean, he's stepping out onto a new land. He might just name it This Land, but how often do you get to name anything?
... what is This Land in Welsh?

Read more... )

The more I think about it, the more I like 'This Land' in Welsh, because it's a Firefly joke and a 'your finger you fool' cartography joke both at once.

Read more... )

Tir Hwn sounds like a nice name.

Words are fun to play with. Pity I don't understand them at all proper. Names need connotations and to know what they're actually saying.

I kind of want to name a planet in Welsh now though, seeing as there's all sorts of Terra Nova or Alpha whatsit or New Earth. Welsh should have a turn.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Right then. I need to figure out how many Mind Emulates I can run on a Gestalt Brain Matrix, and how smart they can be. And the rules say several things and have errata. So I'm going to put them all in here, and then I am going to poke them until they make sense.
Read more... )

199,595 people experience 100 years in the last 10,000.
Then the Matrix crashes a complexity.
Suddenly there's only 19,959 people around, and they're still only experiencing 1 day for 100 of ours.

If they all went dormant while up to 86 component minds got out and pushed, or hunted for the 4 minds they're missing to make up their world again... that's a lot of monsters in the basement. Possibly very smart monsters. Possibly many daft ones instead.

Read more... )

My math might be wrong. But it's pretty.

Still need to do some deciding, but it looks like it's a very small world, in the basement. It could be planet sized to look at, but in population, small.

Woah, I've been working on this for a lot of hours, and it's just useless imaginary maths that I've probably got wrong anyway. Oops?

Still, it is absolutely stuffed full of story idea. I think I like it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Since I couldn't find rules for building buildings, I'm using rules for building spaceships, with rock, and leaving out the engines. This is quite possibly overkill. But since I want the city to have life support including climate control plus energy shields and hibernation pods and other such things already conveniently listed in the spaceship rules, and indeed in my spreadsheet of spaceships design, it will work out with all the numbers in place.

The only problem is I can't find a power plant rated for more than 200 years use. There are people available to do maintenance, perhaps they've just been fixing it? You can handwave and call it Cosmic and make it do pretty much anything you want, which is what Atlantis did, but everything else I need is either TL 9 (one up from ours, available in a few decades at most) or TL 10 if it's a biogadget (available by the end of this century), whereas handwavey tech is beyond the ken of current physics. So, I need something with manipulator appendages that gets woken up every couple of hundred years to fix the power plant. No problem.

Using the gestalt matrix computer, the one made by plugging lots of brains together, is a bit more limiting. It is the kind of atmosphere I want, where tech is very squishy, but it can only run about ten times as many mind emulation programs as there are bodies plugged in, assuming everyone is of strictly average intelligence. And assuming I did the maths right, which isn't guaranteed... Read more... )

I like playing with the rules because when you start you have a bazillion possibilities and a blank sheet of paper, but whenever you draw a line in, decide on some constraints, they generate conflict, drama, specific possibilities.

And I like these rules because now I know I need 100 different monsters and a large building to put them in, and inside them there's a VR world where magic works and getting back out to your own body is by no means guaranteed.

[ETA] I checked the Errata and the Mind Emulation rules are for racial average IQ, meaning any human Mind Emulation can run as complexity 9. Even if it has personal IQ of 18? And what is the racial IQ of an AI???

If plugging one brain in gives you a Complexity 9 computer running one Complexity 9 mind, that works. Read more... )

... my maths keeps on coming out different. I need better maths.
I have thoroughly confused myself anyway.

Still: when storage exceeds numbers that can be awake, competition for bodies OR run time is fierce.
That I can work with.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today my goal was to stay awake and not bite anything inappropriate.
Thus far I am winning.
I cannot go to bed before 10pm. Experience suggests I cannot get to sleep after 10pm. But I woke up for the middle bit with the cleaner, so that's okay.

Today I read some short stories. I'm meant to be reading them with an eye to genre features, borders crossed or not crossed, outsiders, and epiphanies, plus figuring out how to write them. I'm... mostly just reading them. Am not sure I'm learning how to write short at all. There was one called Snow about how the past gets full of snow even in films. It's poetic but stupids. There was also one by William Gibson, which had the usual effect of making me feel all wowed while I was reading it and then turning sort of tissue paper when I try and do anything with it in my head. Great language, but the ideas are kind of done. There were two other short stories; the one about time travellers from the future being totally amoral reductio ad absurdum...s of current American trends was kind of bollocks, as was the one about business people getting themselves turned into animals to get ahead and biting each others heads off for real. I mean, it's one possible use of technology, but it's a boring one that doesn't even tell you much about the here and now, let alone where it could go. Blah blah, we're all rubbish, blah blah. I don't like those stories. Show us what we can do that doesn't involve total destruction of humanity.

ANYway, then I got cranky. More cranky. One of those things.
So I've been playing with GURPS stats all afternoon instead.
A goa'uld is a seriously kick arse being. Read more... )

Capertillers were biotechnology, biogadgets, like hard drives. They were invented to be personality backups, boxes for uploads. That means the big one was probably first. The little ones, the internal ones, they're hard to lose, portable, always on, constantly backing up their hosts. If you got a clean empty one, put them in a single host, had the host die of something, cloned the host, and reinstalled the capertiller, you'd have what looks like the host still alive. Upload personality, download it again, and between times keep it in a handy box that has self preservation instincts and can crawl away from major damage.

Unfortunately, they had not anticipated what happens when you interface the box with two different minds. Or more. Of different species. And those crawl away boxes, they found nice warm host bodies to crawl into. And things got complicated.

That's why such unlikely beings exist. They were someone's idea of immortality, gone rather chaotic.

Read more... )

So, anyway, inventing alien whatsits is fun, and now I know with more precision what they can do, I can... go on to ignore it completely if I have a better idea while actually writing, obviously.

In other news, my GURPS Characters book is disintegrating rapidly. I should just get a ring binder and transfer it all across. Or use the pdf versions I also own. But sometimes I don't want to be on the computer. ... not very often at all, but sometimes. The other GURPS books stay in one piece nicely, but then I mostly use the Characters anyways.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been thinking of making America my alien planet. Not just the USA though, the whole thing. The City on the Sea would be in Los Angeles and the Lost City would be in Vancouver. ... because funny. Also because then I don't have to learn how planets work and invent one, I just pick a weird looking map projection and look stuff up. Though the climate conditions I decided on would complicate that.

Read more... )

So, the City on the Sea, it's full of all these people who become other people, people who are masks for a character that can move between bodies but is expressed differently by each of them. That's why it's funny that it's Los Angeles. Because, city of actors. Each blending is like the different interpretations an actor will bring to a character, even when given the same words.

... I just spent a lot of words wondering about alien biology and psychology just to end up with concluding 'it's like how Hamlet is never the same twice'. Oh well.

Read more... )

Right then.

America. On an alien planet. In a weird map projection.
That means I can use Google maps to plan where the biotechnicians' expedition has been wandering, in the year or two they've spent getting up to the Lost City.
So he's a horse designer demonstrating the long distance endurance of your product, and also a guy who just graduated university and sees a lifetime of the family horse trading business ahead of him. Where would he come from and where would he go, in this not-America?

But then if I start using actual places as inspiration and bizarro them, I should stick closer to home. I can get a lot of mileage out of details I understand and know well. I can only bork up Foreign Parts.

So I could use Britain as the map, but I'd have to make it really really bigger before you could really stick a lost city at one end and a lot of different civilisations at the other. I mean, just multiplying everything by ten or whatever could work, but I'd only have to still figure out the climate and all myself. ... but having specified Ice Age, I'd have to do that to America anyway.
Eh, I'll end up ignoring all this all anyway, and just making like a street or a village at a time when people look at them.
I just keep thinking of new and interesting ways to time waste.

The excuse that I can write short stories for The Short Story unit set in this world only holds up if I then actually do so.
And, also, do all the other reading for other classes too.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm poking around at my story ideas some more and I have realised that, just by habit, I've spread between my half dozen characters all the attitudes to national identity I can think of. Read more... ) if I decide me being British is enough knowing to do all this, that's already decided a lot about the distinctiveness of all the parts. And yet I know I can't even get all the words right, and the politics is beyond me. If I were writing for television I'd fix it by getting writers from all the places, though since there's only half a dozen episodes in British TV that would mean giving half the episodes to people that weren't me. Or writing in a room and not having an episode each. I don't know. I'm not writing for TV anyway and can't recruit people.

I was going to say I don't even know what I'll do with all this, what impact it'll have on my characters. But I know some of it. Susan is going to want to set up an offworld colony. That's her mission, once she sees the possibility.
And I've been talking about the story as about a colony on another world, and when inspired by Atlantis fic I've liked the ones where Atlantis goes independent. But I'm thinking now, the Atlantis stories, are they usually with a very American view of independence? Read more... ) And if we're talking conflict over independence I have examples much closer to home. All those bits of the United Kingdom having a great big argument about independence all my life, and only bits of it with violence. Mostly it's with voting. Plus the idea that a colony is a very long journey away, that you have to go far away before you deal with Different, that I do not grok. It's the neighbours. You can walk there. Declaring independence is like putting up a really serious fence, or possibly growing leylandii. And we have, like, nested layers of political entity, like Wales is part of the UK is part of the European Union. Even one of the politics parties I just now read on wiki, the ones that want to leave the United Kingdom, they don't want to leave the European Union. But there's other parties that are all about staying the UK and leaving the EU. I don't know as America has so many layers. Being British is the middle layer in this argue. And then outside that there's the rest of the world, only with the Commonwealth we sort of sprawl all over it a bit. We stand in so many different relations to other countries, saying 'independence' gets so very complicated.

So if I'm going to write about an offworld colony with some leaders wanting complete independence from Earth, I'm not going to have a binary in mind, I'm not going to be all or nothing about it, and I'm really not going to just close the gate on them and say the old world doesn't matter any more. I'm going to be thinking how it fits with all this all, the already debated, multilayered complexities of UK politics.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I went to the pub.
And I got home again at 0015 with a Tesco shop.

The colony game was fun. People thought of things I'd forgotten and demolished things I'd meant as roadblocks in seconds and asked questions I had no answer to. Also I need to learn physics and how planets work.
... you know, just a tiny bit of research, there...

I did lots of talking and making stuff up. Also there was lemonade. Cheerful now.

I did note that they opted to take a 'study all the things' approach where I'd do an 'assemble a team'. I'm reasonably certain that even a year of studying plumbing would not suit me for a life on another planet. Team is always my answer, rather than try and get my head to cooperate on such a broad brief.

There was also talking about rations and invasive species and a bunch of stuff.

People know a ton of stuff between them anyways.

I do need to think of an answer about why metals are valuable if they've been mostly just growing things. I'd got as far as thinking that living things like iron. I don't know half way enough about chemistry to think up anything clever about how their world works.

... most of my science works on the lalala I say so principle. Why am I writing science fiction?

ANYway, that was successful pub evening.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have an hour and a half before I catch the bus to the pub. I'll arrive a ton early but, since it's the last bus of its kind, so it goes. Tonight at the NSFG it is the Colony Game, and people will be moving to my biotechnician's planet, through the stone circle. Reckon I'm going to bring my backpack and my files thus far. I might have mostly been figuring out what DVD sets they've all brought, but still, I know their priorities.

Have also been trying to get a handle on the astrophysics guy. I can't just make him Rodney McKay only shorter, it's a much lower powered game so I can't give him Science! skill and leave him to it, I have to figure out what he actually does and spend points on all the specialities. Every time I invent a character I have to learn about a whole new career. I understand why there's so many stories about struggling writers, it's a bugger learning enough about everything to fake it.

I started figuring him out by way of deciding what is on his t-shirts.
I liked the one with Pluto making a :-( cause you have to think about it. Also there's a whole 'dwarf planet' line of jokes. There was another t-shirt with a little picture of Pluto that says 'Don't worry, Pluto, I'm not a planet either'. Which I think is funnier if he is a dwarf.
Also I know he quotes Red Dwarf.
Possibly I can keep my tendency to make terrible puns confined to just those two.
... okay, and White Dwarf the RPG magazine, but that'll be totally secret if he just makes Warhammer references.
If I cannot avoid the jokes I must splat them in the editing. He's just meant to be the science dude.
But everyone has fandoms, and that's the main way I'm getting to know characters.

Read more... )

So his equipment is (a) his, personally (b) portable, in an ordinary car and (c) useful enough he's confident he can do good science with it if he happens to find something M Class when he gets there.

I haven't the first clue what that would include. A decent telescope and a digital camera is about as technical as I'd understand.

But he's wanting to prove where they've gated to, or possibly when. He knows enough about wormholes to not want to rule that one out without data. How he gathers the data I will have to find out.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
While planning to send my team to another planet, I started wondering how many boxes of food they'd need, and how much space they would take up. Read more... )

Next problem is how they get it all through their Stargate, or other big stone circle thingy. Read more... )

So. Food. They can has.
I really should sleep and do something useful at some point.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm trying to figure out how one of my characters stores her weapons.
Mine are sticking out of a box in the corner, but they're (a) wooden and (b) not going anywhere.
This woman is moving to another planet, and she's taking her entire Highlander sword collection with her. As you would. Plus a few bits and pieces for a church. But the swords are the seriously bulky items. Even a banner stand can telescope, but a sword is just sword shaped.

Read more... )

It's all giving me a new appreciation for encumbrance rules, I can tell you; character sheets just don't show how awkward it all gets. Even just the one sword is going to be a bugger to get anywhere. She's only short.

I was also looking for what kind of storage boxes the British Army use, just so I can get them looking right, or the right color or whatever. But while I can find all sorts about all the armour or shooting things equipment, and a lot about the stuff they walk around wearing, I cannot find where it all goes when it isn't in a backpack. Maybe it always is. You never know.

I have found the GURPS stats for the exact weapons I picked for most of them, so that's nice. It's a pain trying to find the GURPS numbers for a shotgun wimpy enough to be legal in Britain, since players want to use them for combat not just birds.

I have also done productive studying type stuff with watching Nosferatu. And next I will read books for The Short Story. It's just this other stuff keeps me amused.

I'm having vague ideas about rewriting Eveline with a woman deciding between two planets. And making it less annoying. Which the teacher would probably think is missing the point, but as long as I can explain the exact transformations, that should work out.

Stories are fun.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm still thinking of what to name SF series. I thought maybe 'Offworld', because offworlders is one of the most consistent words I use for humans of another planet. But there's a film on imdb called Offworld.

I like the word cause it sounds like a world where something's off. Without being, like, Weirdworld, where it's waving its weird flag.

So anyways, I'm looking at lists of names of TV shows on wiki and stuff, and I'm wondering if there's any left.

Also I'm wondering how there is so much science fiction I don't got yet.

I suppose there's worldgate, which is another word for stargate that isn't so far as I know trademarked.
It feels like it'd be on borrow anyway, cause it was in young wizards books.
But there's only the one world to gate to, which is a bit rubbish if you're going to emphasise the gate bit.

Really you can get all the stories ever out of just one completely new planet. It's not like this planet has run out yet. You just go somewhere that's like an alternate history with a tech path that went variant after the stone age, and suddenly there's all the stories all over again in new suits.

In other news today I have been being very productive by reading GURPS rule books and finding out which ideas I had would be too character point expensive to do without a ton of modifiers, and also why some weapon choices make more sense than others when arachnofiber ballistic armour is pretty much standard. It's new and interesting cause I never play a hitting things character. Actually I never play a character any more, it requires knowing people and being invited to games and stuff. But now I know how the weapons rules work a bit better. I like learning rules, especially when there's absolutely no penalty for getting them wrong. It's just a lovely tidy organised system with none of this confusing stuff in it.

I was going to type other stuff in here but it fell out.
Okay, back to the rule books :-)
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am trying to find names for the human form avatar that first meets people on their way in to the matrix.
Read more... )
I don't know, I'm not inspired. He's a bit protean to actually name.
I should probably not worry about naming him unless I actually write this stuff.

Have also been trying to name the planet. It has names of its own, but it has a bazillion of them, all the different characters have their own version. Thousands of years, tons of different languages, they call it different things.

I've been thinking they don't have the same alive/dead/inert distinction we do. Like, they look at a lump of rock and think of it as dead, because they don't have a category that would put it outside of the dead-alive cycle. Life transforms into other life until it goes wrong, and then it's dead.
So to them, their planet isn't earth or water, it's a living ecosystem. Read more... )
Ecosphere is a good word. I like the sound. It's not all religion and evocative, but it's an idea that covers how they think of their world.
... it is also trademarked. I probably need a different word then.

I also need a catchy name for the series. I'm tagging everything Rhodri because that's nice and searchable, but it isn't specifically about him. Read more... )

Okay, to figure out the distinctive features that need to be conveyed by the name, actual story must be written.

So these are three names I need to make story on before I'll know what shape they need to be, and it don't matter much until I've got story.

That was a productive hour of pondering there then.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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