Topic: New Members

I recently invited Christine Dreier and Bobbie. R.Byrd to join our little group and they accepted.

Please join me, welcoming both of them and don't forget to look into their stories: The Eyes of the River Revision 2 (Christine's), and Warlock Chronicles  I and II (Bobbie's).

Bobbie/Christine: Feel free to add anything to this thread and share with us the main issues you're looking for when we review your material.  I'm looking forward to lots of fun reading your stories.

Kiss,
Gacela

Re: New Members

Hi Gacela.

Thanks for the invite and the welcome. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone - I think I know a good many already - and sharing thoughts and ideas. I've never been big on forums such as this because the ones I've associated with tended to go quiet after a few postings. Could just be I have lousy taste in forums!  LOL

I'm enjoying your current version of Helga's adventures. Good call on changing Patrick!

Bobbie

Re: New Members

Hi Gacela,
Thanks for introducing me to the group. I just posted my first chapter, so far only to this group. If this becomes a problem because people don't have the chance to get points, I'll post in other groups, too.
I described the story as being historical fiction with a touch of magic because it is set in two historical words that I researched quite well, but has magical elements, mostly related to the river. Much of what happens in the first world,  I know from growing up in the area where the story is set, and what I don't know I research. Magical realism is another way to describe the story, but that seems to create misunderstandings. Magical realism isn't fantasy. It plays out in a real historical world but has parts and episodes of magic, but isn't entirely placed in a fantasy world.
In regard to my protagonist: at the start of the story she is six years old and I try to write from POV of this age (which is different from he earlier version). That doesn't mean and can't mean I use the vocabulary of a six year old. Neither does it mean it's a children's story. The themes are related to trauma and how they affect a child. The parents are a source of this trauma, so is history and culture.  And then, a child sees the world differently, sees what grownups often have lost.
Those are things that I hope to bring out.
I'll review your chapters and the chapters of other members soon. So glad to be back.
Christine

Re: New Members

Hey, Bobbie. I told you this would be a great group to join. I'm so glad you're here. Christine, I am looking forward to getting to know you and your work. A word of advice--post a topic for your books. You will get some great feedback.

Rachel.

Re: New Members

Rachel Parsons wrote:

Hey, Bobbie. I told you this would be a great group to join. I'm so glad you're here. Christine, I am looking forward to getting to know you and your work. A word of advice--post a topic for your books. You will get some great feedback.

Rachel.


Hi Rachel!!

I'll see if I can get some chatter started. I do have an issue with my books --LADY SILVER  and  INTO THE WELL. I have a couple of reviewers who are telling me I need to come up with my own terms for common sci-fi staples like 'tractor beam' and 'computer.' In the original draft, however, I had different terms and I was advised to change the terms to the 'usual'. One reviewer said something to the effect: "A tractor beam is a tractor beam. You may as well call it that."

So...what's the general consensus? Common staple that everyone recognizes or make up my own stuff? 

Bobbie

Re: New Members

Here's a complicated answer.

a:

Your book strikes closer to Star Trek in tech and terminology (eg tractor beams, shields, beaming (which you renamed but follow the same rules), food dispensers (which you also renamed but are similarly infinite)). Do i recall correctly that Tlaan even has a positronic brain?. As such, you can benefit from renaming to help you escape established principles. The more "Common" your terms, the closer you will land to Star Trek, and once you land there, you won't be able to escape.

b:

In Rachel's stories I would suggest the opposite. She has so much meta-data within her stories (eg Goblin Fire) that maybe a tractor beam really is just a tractor beam so that there's more room for other terms to shine. In my own stories, I'm careful to avoid common terms like "mind trick" or "lightsword" for the same reasons I suggest to Bobbie.

c:

I'm halfway through book 2 and can confidently say you 100% do not need tractor beams. You could just have the aggressor ship disable the weaker ship and space-dock it for a boarding party. Remember Star Wars I (or IV or whatever number it is now) when Vader does this and capture Leia? This scene is just as cool as a tractor beam and a lot of fun

Re: New Members

Bobbie:

My position is that that you should come with your own terminology around those elements that are unique to your story. You invented this warlocks and "the flow" and the Alpha crazy-chap-god who wants to conquer the universe, etc. That is the virgin field for your creative process. That's your personal world-building arena. For the rest, don't overcomplicate yourself. A tractor beam is a tractor beam, and anybody with a who has heard about Star Wars, even if it was only once in a dream, knows tractor beams are fancy rays that pull Millennium Falcons into Death Stars' hangars.

The problem with using terminology different to the one commonly recognised "(hauling ray" instead of "tractor beam") is that you cause the reader to trip against your term. The reader strops reading (even for few seconds) until she says to herself: "Oh! I get it. A hauling ray is a tractor beam." Why changing the name in the first place? What purpose did it serve? Making your story super original? It's already original through your world-building, so there's no need to use fancy, confusing terminology, unless you're creating a 100% new world nobody has thought of before, but the latter is unlikely.

Take Twilight for example. Neither vampires nor werewolves are new. Meyer's new contribution is that hers are vegan. For the rest, she rested on common places about vampires and werewolves. Did she talked about wolfmen, weremen, or vampwolves? No, because the readers would have stumbled upon the new term until they realise it's werewolves. By the end of the story, the readers would be fed-up because of the new fancy words more than what they would usually should because of Bella's stupidity, and that's much to say!

Kiss,
Gacela

Re: New Members

Why is it called a "tractor beam" anyway? What's a tractor got to do with a beam of power or light? Never got the point. Why not just call it an energy beam?

Re: New Members

CJ: It's sci-fi short-hand. Same as "hyperdrive"... if you said "mass driver" you have to go back and waste time explaining this term

10 (edited by Rachel Parsons 2020-04-29 15:37:20)

Re: New Members

CJ. I'm just guessing but you use a tractor to pull something, hence a tractor beam. The term originated, I believe, with E.E. Smith. There was speculation that just like you could combine electricity and magnetism to create the light spectrum, you could combine gravity and magnetism to creating a spectrum of gravity beams. As to hyper-drive. In the '50s, there was a tendency to put 'hyper-' in front of everything to make it sound, well,' hyper. Asimov was the worst culprit. He had hyperwave as well as hyperdrive. In his usage, which George Lucas shamelessly borrowed (I won't say 'stole,' as Asimov became a super-fan of Star Wars), it referred to the 4th physical dimension. The idea is just like a 2-dimensional being could drastically shorten distances between two points if he could jump in a third degree of freedom, 3-dimensional beings could do the same. Hence, "the jump into hyperspace."

11 (edited by Rachel Parsons 2020-04-29 16:13:42)

Re: New Members

Bobbie, I read CJ and Kdot first before I understood what you were asking. Some terms are staples in science ficition, originating either in the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1900 to 1950) or in the 1950s. They are common usage, are expected, and as Gacela said of werewolves and vampires, easily assimilated by the reader. In fact, it would be jarring not to use them. Tractor beams are among them (originating, as I said above in the idea there could be an electro-gravitic or magneto-gravitic spectrum.) Hyperdrive is another one. Warp drive originated in the '50s, and as we have achieved it at the subatomic level, a "realistic" projection into the future. (You would need something to amplify the energy output, as to achieve the Starship Enterprise, you'd need, even with antimatter, a mass the size of a tenth of the sun. Why Alcubieere gave up and why they use "dilithium crystal," to amplify the energy. Like lithium crystal as used for lasers. That leads to another SF staple, but 'di,' or 'tri' in front of something--'tritanium' is another example.) Inertialess drive is a less popular term from the 50s. I think I only read it in Poul Anderson but it would still be recognizable and disconcerting to call it anything else. (The exception would be if you named it, although avoid Cochran or other names like it for obvious reasons.) As to pulling you into Star Wars, it depends on the term. 'Lightsaber' is definitely Star Wars. You might want to distance the Flow from the Force for similar reasons. But 'subspace,' (popularized as an alternative to hyper-space (the 4th dimension that you travel in with hyperdrive), 'positronic brain,' not so much. Both the Jump into hyperspace and positronic brain originated with Asimov and are part of the SF world now (Han Solo actually, in the first Star Wars, steals a passage from Asimov's robot novels almost word for word in explaining navigation with hyperdrive.). As to 'computer,' keep computer.  I use 21st-century terms for some of my concepts. 3-D printers, for example. Even if they end up like food synthesizers (Star Trek), we'd probably still call them 3-D printers, just like we call cars, cars, even though they are not horse-driven. 'Automobile' does not fall trippingly off the tongue.

Thanks for the aside to me, Kdot. I think you are right. I haven't used a tractor-beam yet, but I do use 'blaster,' and 'subspace,' both of which are time-honored and the former has a definite meaning (A controlled beam of atomic energy capable of disintegrating anything in its path). I also use the Asimovian term, 'subetheric,' which seems especially appropo as 'ether' was popularized by Madame Blavatsky. 'pulse rifle' is a term of my own, but it's easily identifiable as a ray gun (or phaser, or disrupter, or...) Ray guns, originating with the scientific fad of radionics is a staple. They first appear as the Martian heat rays in War of the Worlds and reached their peak in the 60s with super-heroes using all sorts of rays. (Space Ranger even reversed the process of fire destroying evidence with a special restorative ray.)

The thing is, you need landmarks for the reader. "Conventionalization," to use Spock's term for what the Organians did for the Federation and Klingons. If you feel uncomfortable using common terms, I suggest simply giving their originators (Wells, Smith, Asimov, Schmitz) credit. Or do what Lucas did, assume that anyone who likes your stuff will have heard these terms before.

Hope this helps.

Re: New Members

I would even suggest T'Laan has a positronic brain. Asimov invented the term to avoid explanations on a robot's brain how it actually worked. In times when the smallest things they have were these bulbs inside TV sets the size of a car, it was difficult for Asimov to explain unlimited miniaturisation to his readers. Thus, he envisioned computer "brains" working thanks to the creation/destruction of particles as small as positrons (recently discovered by the times of his first stories). While it's not miniaturisation's limit, it's small enough for gazillions of positrons to fit inside a human-size android--or warlock-size--and perform the "thinking" process.

Kiss,
Gacela

Re: New Members

Kdot wrote:

Here's a complicated answer.

a:

Your book strikes closer to Star Trek in tech and terminology (eg tractor beams, shields, beaming (which you renamed but follow the same rules), food dispensers (which you also renamed but are similarly infinite)). Do i recall correctly that Tlaan even has a positronic brain?. As such, you can benefit from renaming to help you escape established principles. The more "Common" your terms, the closer you will land to Star Trek, and once you land there, you won't be able to escape.

Yo, K! Thanks for the complicated answer.  :-)

I definitely have to go back and change terminology now. I have never wanted to get lumped into the "Star Trek" mold. Making the changes won't be so difficult with find/replace feature. First I have to come up with the terms, however. As for T'Laan - no, he doesn't have a positronic brain. I've not used the term positronic at all, in describing him or anything else.

Thanks for hanging with my little story. I appreciate your input so much!

Bobbie

Re: New Members

Bobbie.R.Byrd wrote:

I definitely have to go back and change terminology now.

Bobbie

Eh... you're ok as is IMO. I was just commenting "should you change/add more common terms"

Re: New Members

Bobbie.R.Byrd wrote:
Kdot wrote:

Here's a complicated answer.



I definitely have to go back and change terminology now. I have never wanted to get lumped into the "Star Trek" mold. Making the changes won't be so difficult with find/replace feature. First I have to come up with the terms, however. As for T'Laan - no, he doesn't have a positronic brain. I've not used the term positronic at all, in describing him or anything else.

Thanks for hanging with my little story. I appreciate your input so much!

Bobbie

Star Trek used 50s terminology, quite standard then. The use of some terms, tractor beams, positronic beams warp drive are generic. True, "beaming," is specifically Star Trek, and a new term would be appropriate. But similarity of terms won't slide you into Star Trek per se. H. Beam Piper's technology was almost entirely Asimovian, and there were totally different universes.  I would avoid "Heisenberg compensators," though. lol