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Crowdsourcing Believable Sci Fi


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#1
zen_mutiny

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I've created this thread with the goal of creating a believable sci fi narrative/universe/setting. One that can hold up to logical reasoning and scientific criticism. I've included part of my post from another thread, Sci-fi tropes that annoy you.  The goal is not necessarily to create something dystopian, or even utopian, but to create something believable. Obviously, this would be characterized as hard sci fi. We should aspire to create something that is not only as scientifically accurate as possible, but also has the capability of being an entertaining piece of fiction. One with great characters, great drama, perhaps even exciting action. 

 

Obviously, we cannot be 100% scientifically accurate about everything, but the goal here is to create something that will be far more plausible than most mainstream sci fi. The setting would preferably be near enough in the future that we can apply certain predictions from the timeline with reasonable certainty. For instance, we can all be reasonably sure that within the next 20-50 years, augmented/virtual reality and digital telepathy are not far-fetched prospects.

 

The first step will be to decide on a time period and a focus. For instance, a detective in a major metropolis in the early 22nd century. Or a VR designer in the same period. Maybe an ensemble cast, even. I'm going to cast my vote for late 21st, early 22nd century, in a setting that is on the leading edge of technological development, ie a major city. Feel free to suggest other settings, as this is a collaborative process. I welcome all criticisms and suggestions to my own ideas, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

 

 

In having the full support of the community working together to create this piece of fiction, we can present many criticisms and address them early in the design process. I cannot wait to see what many intelligent minds working together can come up with.

 

 

 

 

Suggesting this makes me think of something. In the book, Present Shock, the author discusses how, in the future, even today, everything is right now. All of your friends from every stage of your life are on your Facebook page. Aided by the ubiquity of information at our fingertips, all trends are present and ongoing, everything retro is in style at the same time. Everything is now.

 

With this being said, also consider the fact that with virtual reality, all of our fantasies are fulfilled as well. We are not very far from that future. It is very possible we will attain that reality before any major breakthroughs in manned spaceflight. And even then, once we have made those breakthroughs, who will care? Who will care what some robot has done on Saturn, when they're living their dream, quite literally, having all of their wildest fantasies fulfilled at a whim in virtual reality? 

 

Historically, computer advancement in mainstream sci fi has been far less visionary than the space trravel aspects. 50 years after the debut of Star Trek, we have already surpassed the communicator and the computers on board the Starship Enterprise, but we still have not set foot on the closest planet to our own. Even its followup in the 80's, Star Trek: The Next Generation is looking dated. Why communicate using a badge on your chest for all to hear, when you can communicate "telepathically" and discreetly with no obviously visible technological apparatus involved? That reality is feasible within the next 20 years, far earlier than the aforementioned series, which takes place in the 24th century. 

 

Storytelling will have to evolve around these technological advances. Granted, the fiction of a time is a reflection of the time, displaying in hi-def glory whatever fad the public is fixated on at that particular point in human history. My goal here is to predict the next advances in fiction, which will undoubtedly be molded around whatever technological breakthroughs next become widely available to the public. 

 

In predicting that advance, we can be ahead of the curve. We can produce fiction that is far less susceptible to Zeerust, or at least has a newer, shinier coat of paint, and will last many years to come, even as the current tropes fall into disrepair and decay.

 

With this website, we have everything we need to produce great fiction that also has a great chance of accurately depicting the future. 

 

That being established, what stories can be told in the world that we see on our future timeline? What drama can unfold in a world of plenty, or a world of tumultuous  change? How will we depict those stories and still be on the cutting edge, withstanding the criticism of even the most jaded of experts?


Edited by zen_mutiny, 24 April 2013 - 06:23 PM.

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#2
zEVerzan

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Well I'm certainly interested.

 

I like the idea of making it a kind of Cyberpunk Noire setting, starring a late 21st-century detective, say 2093.

 

Background:

In the mid-21st century (2040-2060) civilization existed in a perpetual state of crisis, due in part to peak oil, environmental disaster, economic collapse, and various wars between desperate nations for resources. The planet was reduced to a hellish environmental state by that point; storms were destroying coasts, droughts were making agriculture harder and harder inland, and there was at least one nuclear attack instigated by a terrorist faction. As if that weren't enough, world governments were becoming increasingly corrupt and self-serving.

 

Meanwhile, technology continued its accelerated pace in advancement, and the lines between man and machine became ever more blurred with each passing decade. It became clear that world governments could not contain or restrain the speed with which technology was beginning to advance, as certain scientists who augmented themselves with brain chips were becoming a thorn in their side.

Think Anonymous combined with your stock Mad Scientist.

 

By the 2060's the upper echelon of augmented scientists, who were beginning to rise in authority, decided to separate themselves from the stubborn governments of the rest of the world. They decided to settle a new type of city near a rocky coast on the Antarctic peninsula.

 

Possible backstory.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#3
WithoutCoincidence

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This calls for MANY POLLS! Time-setting, place-setting, # of main characters, etc.

 

As to me, mid 22nd century (2140-2160) would appeal most. Climate change has forced humanity to the poles, with pockets in floating cities, Luna, and even some on Mars.

 

A Grand Canyon is forming between AI-upgraded human brains and biological human brains. Frantic biologists rush around the world, collecting as many DNA samples as they can from species they know/fear will soon go extinct, such as Emperor Penguins, and the global political scheme is changing with major Unions forming, swallowing up countries.

 

The whole world watches as the first brave souls are sent on an interstellar voyage to Proxima Centauri, then the Alpha Centauries, on a 45 year voyage, while back home androids, now impossible to differentiate from humans, are demanding equal rights. Terrorists are hijacking asteroids and veering them towards the vulnerable extraterrestial colonies, and some to Earth, forcing the governments of the world to frantically re-align the asteroids to safe courses. And a whole host of other changes I can't begin to list.

 

Character would perhaps be one upgraded-human, not actively participating in but supporting the android civil rights movement. Story conflict centers around a radical group planning to 'reset Earth to factory conditions' by unleashing a ravaging biological and computer virus.


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The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

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#4
Rkw

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With this being grounded in reality (If I understand correctly) I think this will boil down to a very human plot.


Edited by Rkw, 25 April 2013 - 01:14 AM.


#5
zen_mutiny

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I would prefer that it's grounded in reality as much as possible. We would definitely acknowledge any technological advancements that are bound to happen, maybe speculating on some, and extrapolating the social and political developments that may occur, as a result of said technological advancements, or based on current societal and political trends. I would prefer a focus on human interactions, especially political drama and intrigue. Kind of like a slice of life, ensemble cast drama that deals with social issues of the future.

#6
CLB

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What about a fully upgraded human thrown together with a fully biological human, and them forced to work together? @withoutcoincidence I like your idea.

Edited by CLB, 25 April 2013 - 11:38 PM.

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If something I say sounds like trolling/being stupid/offensive, please forgive me. I'm bad with people.


#7
WithoutCoincidence

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That's a very interesting idea, CLB!


The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

-Chris Impey, How It Ends


#8
zEVerzan

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I recall posting at some point, a long time ago, a concept for a short story.

 

It involved Amish people coming to terms with surviving in an increasingly alien post-Singularity world. Over time they struggle with their faith and are forced to migrate.

 

If anyone remembers its location on the forum or can find it please let me know.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#9
Yuli Ban

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Well I'm certainly interested.

 

I like the idea of making it a kind of Cyberpunk Noire setting, starring a late 21st-century detective, say 2093.

 

Background:

In the mid-21st century (2040-2060) civilization existed in a perpetual state of crisis, due in part to peak oil, environmental disaster, economic collapse, and various wars between desperate nations for resources. The planet was reduced to a hellish environmental state by that point; storms were destroying coasts, droughts were making agriculture harder and harder inland, and there was at least one nuclear attack instigated by a terrorist faction. As if that weren't enough, world governments were becoming increasingly corrupt and self-serving.

 

Meanwhile, technology continued its accelerated pace in advancement, and the lines between man and machine became ever more blurred with each passing decade. It became clear that world governments could not contain or restrain the speed with which technology was beginning to advance, as certain scientists who augmented themselves with brain chips were becoming a thorn in their side.

Think Anonymous combined with your stock Mad Scientist.

 

By the 2060's the upper echelon of augmented scientists, who were beginning to rise in authority, decided to separate themselves from the stubborn governments of the rest of the world. They decided to settle a new type of city near a rocky coast on the Antarctic peninsula.

 

Possible backstory.

 

Sounds a lot like my own Ælcorus from http://www.futuretim...ogy-in-process/

 

For some other believable sci fi...

 

 

Synaulia: What if some transhumans enter a VR program and return to Ancient Rome/Egypt *as transhumans*. They're viewed as gods on Earth, all the while they make their fun in Antiquity.

 

Are They Alone?: Aliens from another world view odd lights and craft in their skies and some claim to be abducted by these lights. Entire myths are created around them, but the mythmakers and believers are ridiculed. Who are the abductors? They claim to be from a planet from a solar system 800 light years away. They call themselves "Humans..."

 

Borderline: Aliens are pressured to extinguish human life on Earth after simulations run prove that humanity is only going to spread war throughout the universe. However, a chosen few will be allowed to survive in order to prevent humanity from going extinct. An alien craft sent to do this is taken down, but the message is made public. These few are then segregated for departure- but not without witnessing their fellow humans lashing out at them and societal order collapsing.

 

Bushodin Paliver: Canceled, thanks to Elysium. Exact same concept, it turns out.

 

Unnamed: A human marries a robot- but robots are being oppressed by a fascist, Luddite government.

 

Passion of the Roaches: The rich become so advanced, so posthuman, that they are invincible. The poor are forced to stay poor, and have been experimented on by the rich- now dubbed the 'Ultrahumans'. The poor- the roaches- have been denied speech, and their thoughts are fully controlled. There is absolutely no hope and, after one last pathetic attempt at revolution, it remains this way forever more.

 

And of course, Mother Meki. Something of an inversion of Passion of the Roaches, where a revolutionary-minded empress of a despotic nation supports revolt against her own crown and power in the name of the people, and then gives her entire wealth away so that the poor could have a chance in the transhumanized world. The twist is that she's denied all rights and is thus not allowed to enjoy this future, not just by the poor but by the dwindling but vengeful rich. Then she's cloned and gets to raise her clone as her daughter before she goes off to live in solitude with a superintelligent droid. I have a scant few prompts written and, of course, the incredibly long (incredibly incomplete) synopsis is linked, but I shouldn't dare post them (I shouldn't even write them, what with depression. It would look too lazy)


Edited by The Young Homo Maximus, 02 May 2013 - 12:18 PM.

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#10
WithoutCoincidence

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Culture Shock-Heavily inspired by EVanimation's million-years-from-now story, though less adventure. Hundreds of thousands of years in the future, Humanity makes First Contact with an eighth alien race, in their stone ages. A person is sent as an ambassador to them. Shows views from both the ambassador and the aliens. I've actually finished the first chapter.


The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

-Chris Impey, How It Ends


#11
zEVerzan

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Culture Shock-Heavily inspired by EVanimation's million-years-from-now story, though less adventure. Hundreds of thousands of years in the future, Humanity makes First Contact with an eighth alien race, in their stone ages. A person is sent as an ambassador to them. Shows views from both the ambassador and the aliens. I've actually finished the first chapter.

 

Mind posting it? :)

 

I think the future ambassador should make a point to stress that they are not, in fact, literal gods, but beings that have ascended to great heights through the use of technology.

 

Of course, the central alien chieftain will have a lot of trouble grasping this concept. Neighboring tribes will see the human ambassador as an affront to their beliefs and find his presence disturbing. The human ambassador should make a point to be uniting the aliens, not inadvertently starting wars.


Edited by EVanimations, 01 May 2013 - 11:24 PM.

I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#12
WithoutCoincidence

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Um, it's a bit... long. 6k words actually. It's an Openoffice document, so it's all words. How do I go about that?


The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

-Chris Impey, How It Ends


#13
zEVerzan

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Save as a .doc, upload the file to any file-sharing platform, and post the link.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#14
WithoutCoincidence

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Hmm, what do you suggest?


The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

-Chris Impey, How It Ends


#15
StanleyAlexander

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@WithoutCoincidence:  DropBox works well.

 

Crowd-sourcing material for a creative work of art is a great idea, but I think something like the existing timeline is as far as crowd-sourcing could get it.  What I mean is, a story's cohesiveness and clarity will suffer if it has to be a compromise between many artistic visions.  That said, I still think it's a cool idea :)

 

How about some late 21st century drama between young, freshly developed cultures and old cultures that have all but stopped reproducing due to radical life extension?  There could be war: on one side Chinese, Japanese, American and European cultures that have all but stopped dying and having children (maybe 75% of whom are over the age of 50), and on the other side Indian, Arab and African cultures that continue to reproduce (and grow) and view indefinite life extension as evil.

 

EDIT:  It will be tough to be "realistic" if it's set too far into the future; remember that all bets are fundamentally off after the singularity, which will likely happen less than half a century from now


Edited by StanleyAlexander, 03 May 2013 - 07:02 PM.

Humanity's destiny is infinity




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