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Science Fiction is a very misunderstood genre, because the name has been used interchangeably with Science Fantasy. I am not judging, but I've been there, done that, and it's not my style. So lets put the SCIENCE back in SCIENCE Fiction.

Before you continue beyond this point, ensure that you have removed your fantasy goggles and are ready to receive a dose of hard science. For your convenience, a pre-flight checklist has been provided.

[question=cyan]☑ Do you enjoy spending weeks, months or years in microgravity, using magnetic boots or your ship's own acceleration to simulate weight?
☑ Do you fear breaking a rib or having a brain aneurysm every time your ship pulls a high-g maneuver?
☑ Do you find the tiny jets of RCS thrusters and the blinding glow of fusion torch engines exciting?
☑ Does the sight of a nuclear blast make you squeak like a schoolgirl?
☑ Are you thirsting for deep, convoluted plots in the void that may or may not involve romance?[/question]
Then congratulations, you are prepared to step into the realm of SCIENCE FICTION!

Alternatively, if you exhibit the following symptoms, please consult another request thread.
[warning=red]☒ You wish to play a space wizard that flies around in a frigate powered by magic.
☒ You find that Star Trek did a great job with being scientifically accurate.
☒ Smut is your primary reason for writing, and you expect it at regular intervals.
☒ You find real space travel boring and believe spaceships should handle like wet-navy ships or WW2 fighters.
☒ You do not feel the need for posts to be historically and scientifically accurate to a believable degree.[/warning]

If you are still interested in traversing the dark void, then carry on, traveler.


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Who is Doedie?
  • I am a 20-something medical student from Europe who once dabbled in engineering for a year.
  • I learned English as a foreign language, but I have been writing it for so long that I feel more comfortable with it than I do with my mother tongue. Great for roleplaying, terrible for submitting papers.
  • I have been writing stories for almost ten years.
  • I write exclusively through PMs, e-mail or Google Docs. Public appearances make me nervous, and I prefer privacy. If needed, I can use select messengers for plotting and out-of-character chat.
  • I write characters of all genders equally. In all of my stories, the main (and most) characters will be human. If romance is discussed, then the main characters will be of opposite genders, but same-sex relationships can be had between secondary characters and NPCs.
  • I am in it for the story, and I write a lot of it. Expect at least 3 meaty paragraphs up to... well, infinity.

Who are you?
  • You are a sentient creature (man, woman, spambot that has achieved self-awareness, whatever) with a good grasp on the English language and a thirst for writing good stories.
  • You do not shy away from effort and research when it comes to writing a post, especially in a detail-heavy setting like hard science fiction.
  • You do not use word count as a measure of quantity and quality. The measure of a post's quality is its relevance to the scene or overall plot, its prose and cohesion, and whether or not it has detailed the environment and the characters and added to the world. If you can do that in just 2 paragraphs, kudos, but I usually find that to be on the border of what is enough.
  • You are more patient than a 5-year-old and understand that sometimes life can interfere with posting frequency. I get writer's block. You get writer's block. It happens. As long as everyone is up to speed with any long unexpected delays, you won't get any complaints from me.
  • You enjoy adding to the world and the plot and are not simply looking for a GM. It is called collaborative writing for a reason.
  • You do not have a problem with using realistic character claims and/or pictures if visual aids are agreed upon. Anime is not my thing.
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Here's some popular media that I draw inspiration from. This does not mean that I will do fandoms on them (I have my fix of those), but that they introduced me to themes that I want to explore.

Books TV Movies Video Games
The Expanse (currently up to Caliban's War) The Expanse (<3 <3 <3) Europa Report Children of a Dead Earth
The Martian Westworld The Martian Space Engineers
Anything by Heinlein Colony Moon Factorio
Especially Space Cadet The Man in the High Castle 2001: A Space Odyssey Duskers
Anything by Clarke Battlestar Galactica (2003) Alien/Aliens/Alien 3 Alien Isolation
  That one Mars colonization miniseries.
James Cameron's Avatar
(the first half)
Fallout (mostly 2 and NV)
The Strain The Strain
The Last Ship The Last Ship The Thing Mass Effect (just a little bit)
  Ascension Crimson Tide Half Life 1/2
  Space: Above and Beyond Terminator Faster than Light
    Gattaca Kerbal Space Program
    Passengers Dead Space
And here are some common themes that I tend to include in my stories:
  • Mystery
  • Horror
  • Cold Wars
  • Paradigm Shifts
  • Nuclear War
  • Mutually Assured Destruction
  • Politics
  • Conspiracies
  • Colonization
  • Exploration
  • Rebellion
  • Individualism versus Collectivism
  • Mercenaries
  • Military
  • Stealth, Cat & Mouse Games
  • Artificial Intelligence
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"But Doedie, that all sounds so limiting. How do you make an interesting space story without bending the laws of physics?"

I am glad you asked. It is indeed harder to make an interesting plot while grounding yourself to a speculative reality, if only because you can't handwave away elements that are considered 'staples' of science fiction. Many writers, including me depending on the concept, prefer to add 'one big lie' to the story's universe to bypass some of the limitations of conventional space travel. The trick is not making that lie so unbelievable that it will break immersion.

Personally, the 'lie' I sometimes use is some form of faster-than-light travel, greatly limited in scope and only there to expand the story beyond our solar system, but it is not essential. Stasis works just as well for some stories.

So what kind of stories CAN we write with only the toolbox of current physics?

To put it simply, any. I am just going to list a few notable examples here, but one of the best parts of discussing with a partner is brainstorming the potential ideas about the plot and the world.

  • One broad and greatly favored category of mine are tales of colonization. These can take place inside our solar system (Mars is the most familiar one, but the Jovian moons work just as well), or even outside it through the use of generation ships, stasis or FTL travel (the one little lie that I can excuse in fiction). They go hand-in-hand with exploration of the new world, and can have subplots of horror, like a terrible evil that initial surveys didn't find, rebellion against the nation that owns the colony (no taxation without representation 2.0, anyone?) and a greater backdrop of war or other disaster.
    • One favored subcategory is a last resort colonization effort from a ruined Earth, either ravaged by climate change, nuclear war or some other catastrophe.
    • Repopulation, and its implications, is also a great factor here depending on a partner's limits and preferences. Sort of an arranged marriage in space, really.
  • Another category are tales of war in space. These can range from espionage missions during a cold war that uncover some great secret, outright civil war within our solar system, or even wars against alien species, although these take a lot of work to get right.
  • Horror tales in hard science fiction are an underrated genre, either forgotten since the 80s or done really badly (look at Alien as a great representative and Last Days on Mars as a meh copycat). They can be combined with any of the above settings, and with different stakes. I will generally try to include horror elements in most of my stories.
    • 'Space zombies' is a theme that hasn't been used enough.
  • Scavenging and exploration plots are perhaps the most open-ended, and I like to mix them with a backdrop of conflict and interplanetary tension. A small scavenger crew uncovering a great threat, a mercenary ship being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a mining expedition discovering some ancient evil in the ice, or even the crew of a crashed spaceship struggling to survive against the elements and the horrors of the planet it is trapped in.
    • A hard sci-fi version of Mass Effect: Andromeda's concept actually sounds like a neat idea, and I'd love to work on something like it.
Here are a few example concepts that I have either used in the past or want to try in the future.

2113. For almost a century, the solar system has been embroiled in conflict. In the core, the United Nations controls Earth, Luna, Venus and Mercury, having absorbed most terrestrial national entities into a sprawling bureaucracy that thrives on the backs of the people of the periphery. Caught in a bitter cold war with the Martian Republic, formed after decades of armed revolution, the two factions have carved out the swaths of resources of the asteroid belt, the Jovian moons and beyond for themselves, using their fleets and the threat of nuclear annihilation to maintain the status quo. Stealth weaponry, the only perceivable way to shake the balance of power in the solar system, has been banned by a mutual treaty that neither side has respected, and both the United Nations Navy and the Martian Self Defense Force have been secretly pouring massive funds into their respective stealth research projects.

With the 2113 fiscal year almost over and a budget review of its own Project Gaston pending, the UNN brings its two stealth prototypes, the sister ships UNV Shadow and the UNV Phantom, out of their secretive shipyards in Neptune's orbit to perform a demonstration of their stealth capabilities before the UN Security Council. The two warships perform beyond the wildest expectations of the Secretary-General and the Security Council, simulating the destruction of the seven UN warships that served as the OPFOR. But in an instant, all hell breaks loose as the Shadow releases the safeties on its weapons and opens fire on the UN battle group, destroying or crippling the entire carrier strike group and killing the security council before the Phantom - itself crippled by an attempted mutiny - forces it to flee. With most of its senior command dead and the United Nations' structure in disarray, the surviving crew of the Phantom is ordered to hunt down its sister ship before it has a chance to either destroy Earth or spark a war with Mars.

Inspirations: The Expanse, Children of a Dead Earth, Hunt for Red October

After discovering the existence of an ancient gate network that facilitates faster-than-light travel in 2071, mankind has spread to dozens of star systems. First contact with an extraterrestrial insectoid species led to a 6-month war, culminating in a nuclear strike on an alien colony that saw the United Nations pay billions in reparations, but since the bloody First Contact War of 2073, humanity has become a mostly peaceful (if not excessively aggressive) member of the interstellar community. Despite the treaty against first strike weapons, several of the species involved have been known to possess a stealth weapons program of some kind, from nuclear missiles that can traverse the vast distances between gates undetected to strike at another species' homeworld within hours to nuclear-capable stealth warships, much like the ballistic missile submarines of the cold war.

The year is 2081. The UNV Eisenhower, one such United Nations stealth destroyer, is one day diverted from its field trials at the very edge of human domain to retrieve a mysterious piece of cargo from a dig site in a nearby colony. By the time the ship reaches the planet, however, contact has been lost with the colony and an unknown warship has initiated a ground assault on the dig site. The ground teams from the UN vessel manage to secure the mysterious precursor artifact before the unidentified foes claim it, but in an effort to destroy evidence of its actions, the warship annihilates the colony with a nuclear strike and severely damages the Eisenhower in its attempt to board the vessel. Without the support of the Council, which has declared the loss of the human colony a terrorist attack and the UN refusing to reveal the existence of its stealth program, the Undersecretary-General for Defense assigns the Eisenhower to covertly investigate the matter and - if needed - take extreme measures to protect human colonies from further attack.

Inspirations: Mass Effect, Expanse

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So, you've made it this far. Or you just skipped the whole thing, it's not like I can tell. If any of the concepts above sounded interesting, or you have your own idea to pitch, then feel free to contact me using the PM system. I considered adding one of those 'tests' in the middle of the text to determine if you actually read through, but what's the point?

Just go ahead and message me. I won't bite.​

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Original poster
I've had some excellent responses so far, but I really look forward to hearing from more of you!


Original poster

Remember kids, spacewalks are better than sex!
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