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My Thoughts about Common Plots
My Thoughts about Common Plots
Editing text in dA is a royal pain so I'm keeping everything in the description section:


SPACE OPERA

1) FIRST CONTACT - 2001, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Star Trek - This is what scifi is all about. Limits to the rate of exploration and plot inflation are needed in order to ensure a constant stream of first contact situations.
2) MCGUFFIN - Freelancer, Matrix, KOTOR, Firefly - a.k.a. "One Ring to Rule them All" and "She sure is special." McGuffins are really easy to overdo, leading to plot inflation. Grand McGuffins are great for stand alone stories, but terrible for ongoing space operas.
3) TROUBLESHOOTING - Star Trek - This is also what scifi is all about. Troubleshooting can be tricky because of worldbuilding implications. Solution: divorce space magic (x+y=z) from established science (2+2=4).
4) RESCUE - A New Hope, Search for Spock, Matrix, KOTOR - Very moving when done right. It's important not to forget your inner 8-year old boy (or girl, if you are a woman) when coming up with stories.
5) UPRISING - Avatar, Dune, A New Hope, Matrix, Red Mars, KOTOR - Also very moving when done right. The trick here is to do your homework with the worldbuilding in order to avoid contrivances and Mary Sues.
6) CONSPIRACY - Dune, Phantom Menace, Matrix, Mass Effect - Also very moving when done right.
7) NATURAL DISASTER - Dune, Red Mars, Command & Conquer, Search for Spock, Matrix - Hard to go wrong with this one.
8) ALIEN INVASION! - War of the Worlds, Halo, Mass Effect, Ender's Game - The danger here comes from tech-based plot inflation. Everyone wants to have a plot twist involving a game-changing technology, but once a capability becomes too powerful other forms of warfare become obsolete. Solution: spell out what cannot be done during the worldbuilding phase of the creative process.
9) ROBOT APOCALYPSE! - Revelation Space, Terminator, Dune, Matrix, Mass Effect - Also susceptible to plot inflation, but what would scifi be without killer robots that get out of control every once in a while? This is a tough one, and will require thoughtful worldbuilding in order to strike a balance.
10) BIOHAZARD APOCALYPSE! - Resident Evil, Walking Dead, Deadspace, Mass Effect, Halo - Also very susceptible to plot inflation; thoughtful worldbuilding needed in order to strike a balance. Who doesn't love zombies?

SOAP OPERA

1) ADULTERY - Defiance, Game of Thrones, Homeland - works well as filler for raunchy entertainment, bearable for PG-13, and downright boring for PG. Want to market a story to the largest possible audience? Unless you can secure a deal with HBO, your best bet is to make something tween-friendly like Star Wars or The Hunger Games.
2) MURDER - Defiance, Dune, Game of Thrones, Red Mars - basically filler but when done right it can lead to rare gems.
3) BLACKMAIL - Dune, Homeland, Desperate Housewives - works well for making nuanced stories.
4) ROMEO & JULIET - Defiance - works best when it is presented in a peripheral way, a la Defiance; otherwise excruciatingly cliche.
5) CLASS WARFARE - Desperate Housewives, KOTOR, Command & Conquer, Elysium - Special care must be taken in order to avoid Mary Sues and straw men -- meticulous worldbuilding.
6) PERSONALITY DISORDER - Firefly, Homeland, Red Mars, Game of Thrones, LOTR - My least favorite; usually either a backstory for a 'special person' or just plain filler. But, then again, who doesn't love Gollum?
7) REVENGE - Dune, Homeland, Game of Thrones - This is what Soap Opera (or any 'Opera, for that matter) is all about. Imagine how boring Dune would have been without the Harkonnens -- yikes, sounds like the Mars Trilogy.
8) UNREQUITED LOVE - Desperate Housewives, Red Mars - filler, but good filler. Kind of like a really greasy burger with a Krispy Kreme doughnut in the middle of it. Not much substance, but mmm, what an entertaining train wreck.
9) MEDICAL DRAMA - House, Grey's Anatomy, Star Trek, Elysium - Can't have medical drama if it's too easy to heal. Solution: healing tissue takes months; limitations on nanotech.
10) ESPIONAGE - Homeland, Dune, Ghost in a Shell - Wouldn't it be cool if someone made a really cool corporate espionage saga that involved NGOs going at each other like a bunch of rabid dogs? Kind of like Ghost in a Shell, but MORE. Biggest challenge: actually understanding real world history and dynamics of large organizations.

FANTASY OPERA

1) KILL THE MONSTER - A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Hobbit, KOTOR - can't go wrong with monsters; who cares if it's just filler?
2) FIND THE TREASURE - Hobbit, KOTOR - a chance to see new places and meet new people? Why not?
3) RESCUE THE PRINCESS - A New Hope, Star Trek S1E1 - a primal kind of story that resonates with most people. Also doesn't hurt to have a character more attractive than Carrie Fisher.
4) REVENGE - Game of Thrones, TruBlood - You have to be trying to screw up with this one.
5) CULT - Game of Thrones, TruBlood, Dune, KOTOR - need to strike a balance between complexity and simplicity; otherwise viewers/readers will be either lost or bored. Best to err on the side of complexity.
6) DEFEND THE CASTLE - Two Towers, Empire Strikes Back, Game of Thrones - works well as long as it doesn't involve reinforcements that where completely unexpected and/or are invincible, a la LOTR; if just holding out long enough for an evacuation or in order for expected reinforcements then that's okay. Coming up with a clever solution like burning a bunch of ships with oil, a la ASOIAF, is also cool.
7) RITE OF PASSAGE - Empire Strikes Back, KOTOR - works well for getting used to space magic and understanding barriers to entry.
8) ESCAPE THE HUNTER - Fellowship of the Ring, Empire Strikes Back, Game of Thrones - works best when used as an excuse to visit a bunch of enthralling settings.
9) DUEL - Star Wars, Dune, Game of Thrones, KOTOR - only makes sense when used in the context of a superstitious culture that values religion. Trial by combat implies a belief in divine intervention, or, in some cases, a culture shaped by a history of superstition. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to justify the use of a duel as an important component of the surrounding plot structure. Solution: lots of mini-dark ages here and there for the purpose of generating feudal cultures.
10) PARANORMAL INFIGHTING - Blade, Underworld, Trublood, KOTOR - The trick is to avoid plot inflation, which basically means coming up with complex worldbuilding in the beginning instead of introducing a game changing ability during each successive story arc.




As always, comments, suggestions, criticism, etc is welcome :)
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Big Five by space-commander
Big Five
Typical Starbase Economics:

25,000 coins - Poor - Guest Worker, Domestic Servant, Custodian (Subsidized)
50,000 coins - Working Class - Drone Moderator, Waitress, Security Guard, Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Fellow, Marine
100,000 coins - Middle Class - Technician, Nurse, Teacher, Paralegal, Staff Scientist, Military Officer
200,000 coins - Professional Class - Contract Pilot, Engineer, Manager, Accountant, Associate Lawyer, Nurse Practitioner, Prime Investigator (Scientist), Government Administrator
400,000 coins - Upper Class - Freelance Pilot, Physician, Executive, Partnered Lawyer, Director (Scientist), Politician


IVY

Description: A consortium of elite universities, foundations, licensing cartels and an array of industries controlled both directly and indirectly (Ivy holds equity over 20% of the TGF economy!). Ivy has been at the forefront of terraforming projects, environmental cleanup, research initiatives and the expansion of a healthcare system that provides everything from free vaccines for the poor, to cybernetic augmentation for the middle class, to near clinical immortality for the rich. Ivy's meritocracy is based on three values: talent, intellect, and physical excellence (TIE). While society as a whole benefits greatly from Ivy's many initiatives, the megacorp is also responsible for exacerbating socioeconomic stratification while consuming the Lion's share of public funding.

Employee Satisfaction: 3
Product Affordability: 2
Product Quality: 3
Public Relations: 5 (best)
Growth: 4
Profitability: 1 (worst)
Total Score: 18

Ethical alignment: Utilitarianism > Individualism > Balance

Adjectives: Inclusive, Meritocratic, Elitist

De facto mascot: snake

Relevance to Kanangar Prime: RC-35 was established as part of a joint venture between Ivy and Unity. Jack Ostrowsky's ship is an Arrow.



UNITY

Description: A conglomerate of mining guilds, farm co-ops, credit unions, and union-controlled industrial juggernauts. During times of war and calamity Unity is seen as a pillar of the Federation and a vanguard of the middle class; but, during times of peace and prosperity, Unity is frequently perceived as a hopelessly corrupt recipient of corporate welfare. Although Unity provides excellent pay, benefits, job security and excellent working conditions, a minority of employees grow frustrated with limited opportunities for advancement (competition and lofty ambitions are frowned upon). Because Unity is a strategic component of the Federation's war machine, infrastructure and peacetime economic engine, generous subsidies ensure that the megacorp is capable of providing an hovercar for every garage, a chicken for every pot and a starship for every landing pad.

Employee Satisfaction: 4
Product Affordability: 5
Product Quality: 1
Public Relations: 2
Growth: 3
Profitability: 2
Total Score: 17

Ethical alignment: Collectivism > Reciprocity > Purity

Adjectives: Harmonious, Moralistic, Inefficient

De facto mascot: pig

Relevance to Kanangar Prime: A subsidiary of Unity is involved in strip mining operations on Kanangar Prime.



DYNASTY

Description: A union of not one, but literally hundreds of merchant families united through a tangled web of marriages and contracts. Dynasty plays dominant roles in low risk banking, real estate, tourism and luxury consumer goods--basically it's a megacorp version of that slightly overpriced store that many wish they could afford and/or join as employees. To its credit, Dynasty makes business decisions based on long-term sustainability (equity can only be exchanged between clan leaders). It is rare for members of Dynasty to defect to other corporations, but those that do usually leave due to either strong personalities that put them at odds with Dynasty's culture of interconnectivity (don't play well with others), or they were wronged by members of the aristocracy.  

Employee Satisfaction: 5
Product Affordability: 3
Product Quality: 4
Public Relations: 3
Growth: 1
Profitability: 3
Total Score: 19

Ethical alignment: Balance > Reciprocity > Collectivism

Adjectives: Sustainable, Loyal, Naive

De facto mascot: bull

Relevance to Kanangar Prime: Barbara Centaura's mother left Dynasty for Vision.


MCMART

Description: A profit-obsessed megacorp dominated by high risk investment banks, feverishly expanding franchises, bulk shipping and distribution firms, media conglomerates and heavy industry. McMart is characterized by a fickle board of directors, a weak CEO, and a rigid hierarchy that encourages viciously competitive behavior, but one positive aspect of this culture is that dedicated managers advance much more quickly here than at any of the other megacorps. During times of war and calamity McMart is seen as a bulwark of the economy and an entry point for the would-be unemployed; during times of peace and prosperity McMart is viewed as an irresponsible destroyer of communities.

Employee Satisfaction: 1
Product Affordability: 4
Product Quality: 2
Public Relations: 1
Growth: 5
Profitability: 5
Total Score: 18

Ethical alignment: Hierarchy > Purity > Individualism

Adjectives: Competitive, Expansionistic, Astigmatic

De facto mascot: hawk

Relevance to Kanangar Prime: Most of the goods shipped to RC35 are carried by freighters contracted to subsidiaries of McMart.



VISION

Description: A quality-obsessed megacorp dominated by high tech industries, blockbuster media and consumer goods. Simply put, Vision is a place where successful (usually lucky) entrepreneurs, artists and designers shoot to the top while the rest of the workforce is characterized by high stress and an atrocious turnover rate. The leadership is much stronger, more flexible and less reactionary than McMart, and although just as viciously competitive as former, one key difference is that the culture at Vision is much more 'relaxed' (no suits) and geared towards 'creative' types (lots of toys, trendy architecture and posh interior design).  

Employee Satisfaction: 2
Product Affordability: 1
Product Quality: 5
Public Relations: 4
Growth: 2
Profitability: 4
Total Score: 18

Ethical alignment: Individualism > Utilitarianism > Hierarchy

Adjectives: Creative, Ambitious, Ruthless

De facto mascot: shark

Relevance to Kanangar Prime: Vision has purchased several patents for biological products discovered on Kanangar Prime.


...

In case anyone is wondering, I used 'total score' as a way to ensure a sense of balance and prevent Mary Sueism.

Main Inspirations:

Ivy - Magic the Gathering: Blue, the Star Trek economy and the University faction (SMAC)
Unity - Magic the Gathering: White, Atlas Shrugged and the Peacekeepers faction (SMAC)
Dynasty - Magic the Gathering: Green, Alderaan and Wayne Industries (Batman)
McMart - Magic the Gathering: Red, Fast Food Nation and Big Box Mart (JibJab)
Vision - Magic the Gathering: Black, Pirates of Silicon Valley (film) and the Social Network

Which megacorp would you join? :)
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A Tale of Two Settlements by space-commander
A Tale of Two Settlements
I think the Venn Diagram is fairly self explanatory. RC35 is more like a stereotypical "Star Trek" colony and Starbase Equador is like a cross between Cloud City and Babylon 5, with a Disney World/Amsterdam/Niagra Falls/Las Vegas vibe. As always, comments, questions and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for viewing!
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Saw a journal about you so I thought I'd check out your work. Looks like you've put a ton of work into this project so far and it's always a pleasure to come across an original universe. Anyway, here is my critique:

Vision ***** - I like where you are going with this. Basically you have a morality play set in a scifi universe and you are focused on actually entertaining the reader.

Originality **** - The story feels rather Babylon 5ish, and to a lesser extent reminiscent of BSG and Star Trek. The 'stop the atomic bomb' story arc is rather familiar, but the reason why it is so familiar is because it is a plot that works well and it is relevant to past and current events. What I read was not quite nuanced enough to merit 5 stars.

Technique ***** - No complaints here. Your prose is good and you don't waste time on annoying conversations or boring descriptive paragraphs. Keep doing what you're doing.

Impact *** - Overall the impact here is on par with a medium budget TV space opera such as an episode of Babylon 5 or DS9. You succeeded in making the story more entertaining than preachy, but I am not particularly overwhelmed by a sense of wonder.
2014 WINTER FEATURE: Voice of the Virtual Phantom



Voice of the Virtual Phantom is a yet to be published young adult novel set on the near future world of Zainter zerraspace.deviantart.com/gall… The story focuses on the adventures of four teenage protagonists: Zad, Peter, Lillian, and Stella as they try to make sense of a world lost in its own memories. While the story is primarily character-driven, it also features topnotch worldbuilding in terms of speculative engineering and a unique ecology s1.zetaboards.com/Conceptual_E…

Zainter from Orbit Zainter from Orbit by Zerraspace  fav.me/d5es4r2
Zainter - Altitude Map (Preliminary) Zainter - Altitude Map (Preliminary) by Zerraspace  fav.me/d5aoamp
Zainter - Bushmat Grove Zainter - Bushmat Grove by Zerraspace  fav.me/d5p74ib

The thing I admire most about the Zainter Project is its organic approach to developing the setting: an online social worldbuilding approach allows the author to integrate feedback in a way that enhances the uniqueness of the story without necessarily giving away the plot. I have seen very few sci-fi worlds on TV or in books that have ecosystems and evolutions as well thought out as Zainter, and I know that when the series becomes available Zainter will truly be a strange new world for the reader to experience. Anyone can write a 100k+ word McNovel, but it takes a lot of work to build a setting that is as well thought out as this one.

Below is an interview I conducted with Zerraspace:


1). When you were writing Voice of the Virtual Phantom, how did you decide to go the social worldbuilding route?

To be honest, it wasn’t a concern when I first started writing. While I realized the absurdity of maintaining modern values, cultures and languages millennia into the future, I didn’t feel that I had any capability at modeling their evolution (just following conlang names drove me up the wall). It was a fellow writer whose work focused on just that that got me into it, challenging my conceptions and convincing me that it was a worthy aspiration that would distinguish my work.

Schoolwork ended up helping me along the line, as the following years involved some very interesting texts on social theory. For a while I was enamored with Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah (Introduction), which concisely explained the rise, fall and essence of all civilizations as a combination of geography and biology – the best modern equivalent I can find is Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. Greek texts, through which we studied their culture’s slow decline were surprisingly thought provoking, particularly Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, which convinced me beyond all else that history really does repeat itself, and that attitude increasingly flavored my work. The other major factor was my own social awakening (for lack of a better word), as I got into social networking and made more outgoing friends. It exposed me to new classes and ideas, whole levels of society I’d only been peripherally aware of, and made me realize just how much I’d been missing out on. Our approach to history gives a misleading view, turning fluid phenomena into events with hard boundaries and attributing them to figures or nations: it’s through the eyes of everyday people that the world is really experienced, and from them that the future will emerge. Hence arose my next ideal, to create the world as it might be lived, not as it might be archived. This lends itself very well to a character-driven work, as it makes for a more immersive experience while forgoing the need for heavy exposition.

2). Who are some of your favorite social worldbuilders?

I’d have to say that this is a field in which I strongly favor the media’s take: while science fiction literature presents quite a few interesting and novel possibilities, few of these seem humanly workable (fantasy is much more convincing, but that’s not to its credit – it generally uses real-world analogues). Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of the glorious rare exceptions, but then, it isn’t exactly a conventional science fiction novel by any span of the imagination. Ian M. Banks’ Culture seems to me the most convincing image of a utopia ever presented, or at least the ultimate culmination of Western libertarianism, but I haven’t read his books so I can’t really judge it effectively. Similarly, I can only praise the Posthuman Studios’ roleplaying game Eclipse Phase for its vast integration of technology and ability to experience it based on online references. In video games, I must praise Relic Entertainment’s Homeworld and Firaxis’ Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (though you’d have to check the supplemental material to get the full gist of the former), which managed to turn whole peoples into characters you wanted to follow, the latter of which committed an unparalleled effort into exploring multiple futures and all possible outlooks on them. In television, special mention goes to Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes, which is quite possibly the most realistic science fiction ever created, and I feel is quite likely be our future if we ever invest in further space development but don’t discover FTL. You know someone’s done their work when NASA commends them, but to successfully accommodate a convincing (and almost frighteningly true to real-world) political and social background alongside the technical is nothing short of incredible. I should also bring up Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell and the Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex series, profoundly deep works that blur the boundaries between man and machine and how they might be assimilated, while giving a unique perspective on AI beyond dominative intent or passive servility. Alongside Banks’ Culture, the only other work that gives AI such consideration is the Orion’s Arm online worldbuilding project, which deserves respect for confronting the challenge of man’s existence well beyond the technological singularity rather than dodging it or dealing only with its onset, something even I have given into.

3) Some futurists expect a technological singularity to take place at some point within the next century. When do you think this will happen?

I am not so optimistic. The only area in which computers have not wildly exceeded our vastest expectations is intelligence. Even the best systems remain much smart bricks, Chinese Rooms, processes rather than entities – they convert but do not comprehend. Any given input is treated like a variable in an equation or algorithm to give a certain output. You could argue that this is what we do all the time, but unlike computers, anything we do influences our memory and former functioning, while computer programs must be specified to reference others to have any effect, and then only said others will be effected. Any organism with even a peripheral awareness correlates information inherently, not just humans, which is more than any computer today is capable of.

This does owe somewhat to computer architecture. Biological thought relies on billions of interconnected neurons acting as processors, whereas computers rely on a few tens (at most) of datapaths as processing units that do not directly influence one another. If computers seem to have an edge on us, it’s only because said datapaths are running millions of times faster than the neurons are. That being said, I do not think the real obstacle is any limitation of the hardware – computers have already vastly exceeded us in terms of memory and number of operations – but our own inability to process and model the complexity of an intelligent system. It’s a programming issue, and until we come to terms with how to handle and coordinate so many elements simultaneously, computers will forever remain smart bricks.

As we haven’t really made any great progress in this endeavor, I couldn’t give you a good figure for the technological singularity. I’d say two-hundred years, perhaps one-hundred-and-fifty if we’re lucky.

4) Do you think that Moore's Law will plateau at some point?

Technically speaking, it has already has. We hit the first plateau, the Power Wall, in 2004. It’s not that we can’t make computers better, it’s that increased processing power has thus far come with a similarly increased cost of electrical and waste power, and we’ve reached the limits of what can be handled practically (for the record, this is why modern laptops have such a problem with overheating). We’ve been able to bypass it by multicore threading, using groups of less powerful but more efficient processors in parallel to simulate the same effects – essentially we’ve replaced needy Isaac Newton with increasingly large teams of increasingly dumb researchers to do our bidding – but rate of progress has slowed significantly, and every processor we add gives less of a boost in performance than the one before due to coordination inefficiencies. It won’t be long till we reach the limits of what can be done with this technique as well.

I’d say we’re within a decade of realizing all that can be achieved with silicon-based modern computer architectures. We either need a new approach to building them or a new basis for computing (say, optical, chemical, genetic or quantum) if we’re to expect continued improvement. Since global industry has come to rely upon Moore’s Law and truly enormous resources have been devoted to its continued progression, I’m not all that worried about it trailing off, at least within my lifetime.

5) What do you think is the highest level of intelligence possible using traditional materials (not quantum computers)?

Without completely repeating my response to question 3, I feel that hardware emulating the human brain could be built with modern components and even be made to surpass it by orders of magnitude given its vastly superior operating speed. Even today’s vastly simpler computers could utilize this to simulate a human-like intelligence. What keeps either of these from happening is insufficient understanding of the processes driving intelligence, and our seeming inability to grasp such complexity – today’s programmers struggle to coordinate the action of a few processors running in tandem, where even simple animal brains manage this with billions of neurons. Until we get around that stumbling block, it won’t matter what the basis of computing is, computers won’t be going anywhere. I’m not sure we can even comprehend a system complex enough to outwit us (or even hold a meaningful conversation with us), and I somewhat suspect that, unless we find some means of enhancing our own intelligence, true AI will more likely emerge as a result of a freak accident or trial and error than any studied intent. Granted, with enough progress into genetic engineering, something we’re starting to figure out, the former might be an option after all…

6) Does the Virtual Phantom live in a quantum computer, or in a traditional silicon-based machine?

It’s a hard question to answer without giving away too much of the plot. The general basis for computing in this universe is quantum (though I had once considered optical computers), and it’s on such machines that he was programmed, but he could operate on any computing device, whatever its basis, so long as he converted his programming or used the appropriate emulator to run himself, though his performance would likely suffer. I personally think that silicon-based devices will be long obsolete before the time of the setting.

7) What do you think is the size limit for miniature swarms of remotely controlled robots that can be directed individually?

Nanoscale motors only a few atoms large have already been constructed (butyl methyl sulfide molecules will affix themselves to a surface and rotate when given an electric charge, here (www.bbc.com/news/science-envir…), which could also be used as the basis of actuators, pumps and assemblers. Transistors have been built out of a single atom (phys.org/news/2012-02-single-a…), which bodes well for nanoscale circuits and computers. Piezoelectric transducers can be built with just a sheet of atom-thick graphene doped with lithium (engineering.stanford.edu/news/…): these are enormously versatile, capable of acting as radios for transmitting and receiving ultrasound signals, as generators for converting bodily vibrations or acoustic transmissions to electrical power, and navigation aids determining distance and position by measuring signal lag. Biology has already provided us with a wealth of chemical receptor molecules, and artificial equivalents could likely be further miniaturized seeing as they do not require such long membrane anchors.

Between all of these, you could build a nanobot smaller than most bodily proteins (less than 10 nm across), albeit an extremely simple and specialized construction entirely dependent on external signals for power and direction. A more versatile machine would be many times larger; Robert Freitas suggest that an all-purpose self-sufficient model could vary anywhere from 100nm-1µm across, still less than a hundredth the width of human cells but rivaling the smallest prokaryotes. Personally, I think some mix of the two would be more practical: armies of super-specialized miniatures could move through tissues and cells (even within them) unimpeded to reach problem sites, while larger “microbots” beam them power, assess their findings to process their surroundings and direct them.


QUESTIONS FOR THE READER:

1) Who are some of your favorite social worldbuilders on dA?

2) What are your thoughts about the limits of machine-based computation and intelligence in general?

3) What are your thoughts about incorporating nanobots in science fiction?

4) Overall are you more of a Transhumanist or a Luddite?

 

 

Previous Features:

 

Fall 2014 2014 FALL FEATURE: Caelum Lex2014 FALL FEATURE: Caelum Lex
Caelum Lex is a self-published open access space opera that is reminiscent of “Firefly.” The story is the product of collaboration between two dedicated individuals, a technical writer and a visual artist, and a new chapter is released each Friday. Like “Firefly,” Caelum Lex focuses on a group of ordinary people just trying to get by and does a good job of presenting likeable characters that viewers/readers can get attached to. However, unlike “Firefly,” the universe of Caelum Lex is built to last beyond a mere handful of episodes and the experience does not include analogs of annoying characters such as River and Shepherd Derrial Book. Chapters are available on dA fav.me/d5gro6q but Caelum Lex also has an excellent website www.caelum-lex.com/ complete with an interactive table of contents

Summer 2014 2014 SUMMER FEATURE: Best Faves of 2013Below are my 20 favorite deviations from 2013.  Enjoy.
Category #1:  Gasp-worthy amazing; a.k.a. "Oh yeah, now I remember why I keep coming back to dA..."

Category #2:  Cool Spaceships

Category #3:  Cool Maps
Old Mars - Request by TimberfleetAgurien Map by Faejala
Category #4:  Cool Aliens
Average Day at the Chop Shop by Whachamacallit1Major Sentient Species Visual Guide by ILJacksonFemale Solir by Bones859Lyell-3 - Tree Tops by Tapejara
Category #5:  Misc
Project ceres sketchdump by 4nimeCub3LCARS Orbital Scan by TronTrekThe Inner Patrata System by joeabuy1000Lillian "Lilly" PC-8302 by R1VENkassle
For anyone who may interested, I am curious to know what people think about the importance of depicting a utopia versus a dystopia or a normopia (word I made up just now to refer to something that is neither a u

Spring 2014 2014 SPRING FEATURE: Best Faves of 2012Just thought I would take a break from blog interviews and highlight the 20 best deviations I found during the first year I was on dA.  Enjoy.
Category #1:  Gasp-worthy amazing; a.k.a. "Oh yeah, now I remember how I got hooked on dA..."

Category #2:  Cool Spaceships

Category #3:  Cool Maps
The World of Sweatshirt Brigade: Political Map by joeabuy1000World Building Test Map by WorldBuilding
Category #4:  Cool Aliens
rainbow ray by V4m2c4Northern Gapuri speed paint by ExobioCnilurian species template by DreamingHeroTraddian by desuran
Category #5:  Misc
The Job Proposal by Rob-CaswellThe Pioneer's Curse - The Biologist by ZerraspaceThe prospector by ILJackson
For anyone who may be interested, right now I could use some input regarding microeconomic modeling in science fiction settings,

Winter 2013 2013 WINTER FEATURE: The Ascension Chronicles2013 WINTER FEATURE: The Ascension Chronicles
The Ascension Chronicles is an upcoming comic book written and illustrated by ILJackson iljackson.deviantart.com/ that is set in his Freelancers universe iljackson.deviantart.com/galle…. As previously explained by ILJackson fav.me/d6kqqvu the Ascension Chronicles is a space opera that finds a happy middle ground between hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi and it has a general atmosphere similar to a mixture of “Firefly” and an H.P. Lovecraft story. While the comic itself is not freely accessible on dA, a large number of appendix-related illustrations and descriptions have been posted that will eventually be included as part of the interactive experience that will be available when viewing the webcomic.
Ascension Chronicles Cover Art fav.me/d6gntl3 :th

Fall 2013 2013 FALL FEATURE: Mass Effect: Interceptor2013 FALL FEATURE:  Mass Effect: Interceptor
Interceptor http://mothbanquet.deviantart.com/art/Mass-Effect-Interceptor-Episode-1-320702357 is a fan fiction novel written by Mothbanquet http://mothbanquet.deviantart.com/ that takes place in the Mass Effect universe just prior to and during the time of the first Mass Effect game.  This massive story has 44 chapters and follows the story of an original character named Arlen, a young Turian who is new to C-Sec and learning the ropes from none other than my all time favorite ME character Garrus Vakarian.  Interceptor is an exciting story written at a level that not only matches the quality of Bioware's writing team, but also exceeds the skill exhibited by the majority of today's traditionally published novelists.
 
Mass Effect:  Interceptor Cover http://mothbanquet.deviantart.com/art/Mass-Effect-Interceptor-Cover-325440050&

Summer 2013 2013 SUMMER FEATURE: Spindrift2013 SUMMER FEATURE: Spindrift
Spindrift takes place in an original fantasy universe created by Elsa Kroese http://elsakroese.deviantart.com/?rnrd=23913, written by Charlotte English www.charlotteenglish.com and illustrated by Elsa Kroese. The comic itself is published on a weekly basis and can be found at www.spindrift-comic.com. Spindrift is undoubtedly the best fantasy comic on dA, if not the internet itself.
Aureate
Alarina's Temple process
Preview Spindrift: page one
One thing that I really love about the story behind how Spindrift was conceived http://www.spindrift-comic.com/about.php is the how the creator had a very mature level of self-awareness, and then took steps accordingly in order to build the greatest story possible. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it is only by embracing who we are that we can reach our full potential. Elsa recognized that her mastery of visual art exceeded he

Spring 2013 2013 SPRING FEATURE: The White Angel2013 SPRING FEATURE: The White Angel
"The White Angel" is a new comic that was envisioned by George W. Dennis, the best Indie Sci-fi comic book artist that I have ever come across. It is a hard science fiction story set in the year 2158 primarily in the asteroid belt, and also in outlying worlds such as Neptune. Drawing inspiration from the stories of Paul Preuss and Arthur C. Clark, as well as insightful technical information from Winchell Chung's atomic rockets website http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/index.php , George brings to life an immersive and intriguing vision of the kind of adventures that could lie ahead a little over a century from now.



Rather than getting caught up in far future technologies such as hyperspace and artificial gravity, focuses instead on the kind of future that could lie ahead for us right around the corner. The asteroid survey vessel Muneqita http://beltminer.deviantart.com/art/main-belt-surve

deviantID

space-commander

Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
I'm in my late twenties and like many aspiring writers, I have opted for anonymity. When I was younger I was a huge fan of the Sim and Sid Meir games, but as I got older I gradually grew tired of them and started looking for a more creative outlet. One day I noticed dA-Muro, started doodling, and the rest is history.

My main activity on dA revolves around a massive group world building project called One-Planet-at-a-Time one-planet-at-a-time.deviantar…. It's basically a science fiction universe that is designed to remain as open-ended as possible instead of collapsing in on itself like a lot of the mainstream universes seem to be doing. Submissions to this group are officially accepted on Sundays. I do not thank people for faves but I do reply to most comments and notes within a reasonable amount of time.

If anyone would like a critique for a short story (preferably sci-fi) just send me a note and I'll put it on my to-do list. My policy is one critique per writer unless the writing is for the OPaaT Project in which case I am willing to write multiple critiques. Even if you are not a Premium member I am still happy to provide detailed feedback.

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:iconworldbuildersinc:
WorldBuildersInc Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Hey, are you a fan of Rush? If you haven't heard it already, listen to 2112. 20 minutes of pure, classic rock, scifi awesomeness. :)
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:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Not sure how to answer that :/

I like bands like Imagine Dragons, Nirvana and AC/DC, but there's also a lot of rock I can't stand...
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:iconworldbuildersinc:
WorldBuildersInc Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Like? :) I'm more of a punk and alt electronica fan myself, but I do love me some classic rock ;)
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:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
now that's interesting :) what are some bands or songs you like from alt electronica?
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(1 Reply)
:iconjburns272:
Jburns272 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the :+fav:.
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