Would you buy this premise?

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September 26th, 2016 at 12:59:01 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 328
Posts: 11349
I wonder if one can come up with completely inscrutable aliens, but at the same time be able to explain all that they do.

Yeah, that makes me want to turn my head 180 degrees, too :)

From time to time, you get aliens who do things that make no sense, but the writer never explains them. Like Clarke's first Rama novel, for example (if you ignore the sequels). Or the Shadows in B5, until you're told the BIG EFFING REVELATION at the end of season 3.

There's an episode of Batman where villain #2 hires villain #1 to steal Batman's cape and cowl. #2 doesn't explain why he wants them, but tries to pump #1 for secrets of his own. Now, that would qualify as inscrutable, except at the end when you find out certain things, it's all perfectly reasonable and logical.

The thing would be to show everything, explain everything, reveal everything, and yet things still fail to make logical sense.

I think the closest I can get to that is religion.

I think about this every time I watch B5 and find out what the Shadows are up to. It never satisfied me.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
September 28th, 2016 at 9:19:16 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 328
Posts: 11349
I've a nebulous ides with a backstory where aliens known as Kloridans attack Earth in the not-so-near future. The fight is drawn out, several humans defect to the enemy, and a few ships using a very unstable and dangerous form of FTL travel flee the Solar System. When the war tips over and Earth begins to lose, a second mighty alien fleet appears and declares Earth to be under their protection. The Kloridans just up and leave. The other aliens explain they'll defend Earth any time it's in peril, but not other worlds. This means they wont' defend Mars, much less extra-Solar colonies set up by humans.

Humanity had begun to explore the nearest stars, but the war ends this for the next few decades, while defenses in the Solar System are made very, very strong, and a military build-up takes place. Eventually they resume exploration, with big, heavily armed ships. These ships are military, but they carry civilian scientists as well. Their mandate is made up of three things: 1) Exploration in general, with an eye out for habitable, potential colony worlds; 2) To look for the groups that fled Earth during the war; 3) to seek out and make initial contact with other civilizations, with an eye for potential allies and trade partners.

That, in brief, is the back story. The stories will be about the starship Prometheus.

Yes, this looks a lot like Star Trek. The main difference is the military nature of their mission. There will be plenty of combat, though not in every story. For the first story I mix mandates 2 and 3, as they find strikingly human-looking aliens, all female, on a planet where one of the fleeing ships landed. Unfortunately all the humans died from a native virus, but these aliens feel in debt to humanity, as they were able to fix their society by means of incorporating human DNA into their own. They're eager to trade and learn from us, and would be great allies.

Except, the virus that killed the people in fleeing ship was engineered by them for the purpose of killing the first wave of humans. And now there's this heavily armed BIG EFFING SHIP that could lay waste to their world if they had a reason to (lots of goodies like 100 megaton nukes and some that are even more destructive).

The idea is to do several stories with the same characters and ship. I would love to do a Babylon 5 type arc, but can't think of an overarching story. So instead I'll do a history type thing, where events take place. The thing is to keep all episodes connected. That is no Trek reset button, no one-time deals, etc. Also earth will be planting settlements/military bases here and there.

I do plan on having several aliens with obscure motives. Like the ones who save Earth, and then kind of disentangle from our affairs. And another very old, very powerful civilization that is so xenophobic they don't even trade or do any kind of exchange among themselves; they are united only in their desire to be left alone by others. If you approach their space, they'll give you one warning to back off. If you don't leave at once, they do something that makes your ship and everyone inside it stop existing.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 4th, 2017 at 8:07:29 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 328
Posts: 11349
Would you buy having something like a computer and smartphone that's inside of you?

It does the functions we take for granted now, like calls, games, apps, video, audio, etc., but also maintains and repairs your body with nano-scale machines, and bolsters your immune system. You have to talk to it, but it displays video to your optic nerve (with nano-scale interfaces), and can record from it, too..

I'm looking for technology so advanced it seems like magic (I don't think any technology could be so advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic, not to a technological civilization).
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 4th, 2017 at 12:55:20 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 50
Posts: 4804
Quote: Nareed
I do plan on having several aliens with obscure motives.g.
Good for you. Realism is always best. Perhaps defending Earth but not newly established colonies could be an example of our views on insect infestation or a botanical garden.
January 4th, 2017 at 12:59:07 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 50
Posts: 4804
Quote: Nareed
Would you buy having something like a computer and smartphone that's inside of you?
Heck... they are already working on dna-tools and dna-batteries. Pacemakers are now being tested that have NO batteries but instead gain power from a small solar cell on the skin that powers the implant. Internal modulation of glucose levels using fabric is already being tested but requires calibration twich a day.
January 12th, 2017 at 7:32:04 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 328
Posts: 11349
I dreamt up the notion that maybe an alien would respond in ways that are not exactly wrong, but not how a human being would. For example, using a change to a familiar form of address to explain a life cycle process. Also using different words than those expected. Thus:

"A part of me resides inside you. Such level of formality seems uncalled for now."
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 25th, 2017 at 10:19:16 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 328
Posts: 11349
In many Golden Age stories, and some old SF movies, there's a bromide that aliens haven't made or cannot make contact with Earth "because humanity's not ready." Partly, I think, this is the basis for a portion of the Prime Directive in Star Trek.

I thought I'd turn it around:

"Let me guess," said the human, "we're not ready."

The alien laughed, "Of course you're ready! You're capable of understanding life on other planets, at least most of you are. And with some time and effort, and a hint or two, you can figure out how to replicate all our technology. It's we who're not ready. For what you'll do after we make contact."

"What do you expect us to do?"

"I'm not sure. That's the problem."
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 25th, 2017 at 4:09:03 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 50
Posts: 4804
Quote: Nareed
I dreamt up the notion that maybe an alien would respond in ways that are not exactly wrong, but not how a human being would.
was it Stranger in a Strange Land wherein an alien mistakes a discussion about his eating a breakfast for a discussion about his being breakfast?
February 2nd, 2017 at 2:54:26 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 328
Posts: 11349
How would you like growing up sharing your body with a second mind to keep you company? What if you don't like the other mind? What if she doesn't like you? What if you get along fine, but have widely different interests?

Stargate tackled a few of these questions with the Tokra(SP?) symbiotes. DS9 missed the boat with the Trill symbiotes. That's odd, because Trek tends to go in more for the philosophical questions.

Odd line for the day:

Human: "What have you been doing on Earth for 35 years."

Alien: "I've been drinking a lot of coffee."
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
February 2nd, 2017 at 3:38:17 PM permalink
stinkingliberal
Member since: Nov 9, 2016
Threads: 17
Posts: 731
I remember reading a short story where all that is left of humanity is a remnant on an orbital colony; all of Earth's people have been wiped out by aliens who haven't even bothered to try to communicate with the remaining humans. The orbital colony has high tech, its people live a utopian existence, but they've never been able to discern what are the goals or motives of the aliens. Any probes they send toward Earth are instantly destroyed and all efforts at communication are ignored. The humans dream of retaking the Earth some day.

Don't recall the author, but it seems like there would be good novel or two in the premise.
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