It is interesting that when an author sits down to write he or she is creating a new universe. This may be something as simple as a fictional street or a whole new world inhabited by elves and hobbits.
Science fiction and fantasy television series have similarities in what fictional technology they use. Star Trek and Star Wars both have deflector shields; Star Trek, Blake’s 7 and Stargate SG-1 all have transporters. Most TV science fictions have energy weapons. However though they may share similarities how a Star Trek transporter works my differ from one in Blake’s 7.
Establishing the rules of these technologies and what technologies exist in a fictional universe is very important. In Andromeda, another series created by Gene Roddenberry, transporters do not exist. There is an episode called ‘In The Things We Cannot Change’. The basic story is the crew trying to rescue one of their number set adrift in a space suit. In Star Trek there mightn’t be a story here – they’d just beam him aboard.
The point I’m trying to make is that what is drama for one series might be a single scene and nothing to write home about in another. To me the most important thing is internal consistency.
In creating my own universe I’ve had to come up with rules. Though it made it more complicated I decided to keep the technology at a level we can understand today. So while there are some fiction technologies we can see the genesis of them from what we have today. For instance stem cell research may lead to the growing of organs but the technology isn’t there yet.
I decided I required two technologies that are beyond current understanding: faster than light travel and a translation system. These two staples of the genre were, in my view, absolutely necessary. Without FLT the stories would be confined to the solar system and I wanted a more broad base of stories. Since there are aliens in the novel a translator was also required. I think that if you have aliens without a translator then communications with the aliens has to be the story.
This idea was shown well in the film Enemy Mine. A human and an alien crash on a planet and have to learn to communicate with each other. However my idea of a translator is not the Star Trek idea. It is not a magical device. It can only translate into languages that have been programmed into it. So, to use a Star Trek example, it can translate into Klingon because there have been enough dealings with Klingon’s for the language to be known.
The stories are set in a time where much of the galaxy has been explored so a language in common is fairly easy to find. Two races meeting for the first time may be able to speak with one another because of a race they’ve both met. Like a French man and a German meeting in Finland but speaking English as a common language.
It this section of the site I will be discussing various works of fiction. These will be reviews of a sort with some critiquing and other bits and pieces.