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Flashover: A hard sci-fi novel I'm working on

  1. Sep 13, 2014 #1
    Here's a story I've been working on for the past week. It's more of an experiment really.

    This novel does (or will eventually) interact with a myriad of fields, including computer science, nanotechnology, molecular biology, and quantum mechanics.

    I'd really love to see some input from experts in those fields, although I'm by no means an expert in anything. I merely write from how I understand things. If it doesn't hold up in your opinion, please point it out.

    I'll also ask you to ignore the mild creationism and any philosophical content intended to challenge the reader for the purpose of this thread. I'm not sure if it's against the rules to include them in the work presented, but from what I gather it's against the rules to discuss them here.

    Thank you, I hope you find it enjoyable. Here's what I wrote so far:

    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2014 #2
    I decided to read this.

    Character development can be worked on, pace could be polished, as could some of the processes the guy uses to acquire stuff, among other things the actual content of rare elements per weight in electronics is not that high, he'd be better of starting an "element collection" and just order the indium, selenium, praseodymium and what not on E-bay... Less of a hassle than sending out armies of nano-ants, I imagine, speaking as someone who did have a cellar chemistry lab as a teen.

    As a chemist, I also cringe at the idea of nanomagic where the nanites can turn all chemical compounds into all others (given access to the elements involved. I think actual nanomachines will be like "life in another biochemical language", it might spit out fullerenes and swim in dimethylformamide, but it will be picky as to the compounds it needs, just like bacteria is.

    As to the "mild creationism", vague philosophical concepts like the anthropic principle are rather common in sci fi, and that the universe itself would be sentient /designed by something sentient is not that uncommon either.

    The put-off to the mostly agnostic or atheist sci-fi audience probably comes if there is a clear reference to this entity being the Christian god, as opposed to "something eldritch" or something on a higher plane of existence or similarly fuzzy. Your reference to "sins" walks the fine line, as well as someone casually deciding not to become immortal.

    To put it in as few words as possible: "the truth was in well known 1900-year old book all along" is a rather major buzz-kill, especially since it implies that instead of engaging in speculation and methodical science the people who never did any of that but went to church on Sundays were closer to the truth.

    I have read stories where the protagonist becomes immortal, and then laments after centuries of life that time works as a magnifier, each tendency, no matter how minor, eventually being amplified and acted upon. This is a different concept from the religious concept of "sins", but if it or something like it is what you are referring to in those last sentences do expand upon it.
  4. Sep 18, 2014 #3
    Thanks for reading this, and I agree. Pace is certainly a problem for me, and I'm not proud to say that it doesn't get better with the later chapters either.

    The way he built the specialised nanobots for material collection is sort of the way a programmer would go about it though: automate it all.

    Bacteria is the result of evolution, while his inventions are deliberate designs. A bacterium only takes what it needs to survive and reproduce, while his nanobot are the result of computer programming. It only makes sense to code for a 'do it all' solution.

    The reference comes from his father, not me. :)

    Although I do see what you mean.

    I will. I don't want to spoil anything but later on that idea will be revisited.

    That reminds me. If you're still interested in reading more, here are chapters 3 and 4:

    Chapter 3
    Chapter 4
  5. Sep 20, 2014 #4
    I'd recommend joining some site where people regularly post and comment fiction, it is a great way to get some constructive criticism on your work.
    www.alternatehistory.com has a writers forum that is closed to anyone who isn't a registered member (which is important in copyright issues, something published openly on the web will never be sold). Apart from alternate history a lot of science fiction and fantasy is also posted there.

    Good luck!
  6. Sep 20, 2014 #5
    I will. Thank you.
  7. Oct 31, 2014 #6
    Hmm, interesting, but it looks like to me, they dont really care about simple future story... or i didnt look deep enough?
  8. Nov 2, 2014 #7
    They have "future history" and "alternate history writers" subforum that become visible once you are a registered member. "Alternate history" refers to history that deviates from known history, or OTL ("our time line"), most often by a single small point-of-divergence, like king Carl XII of Sweden stumbling in the trenches during that siege and thereby not getting his head blow off, Elser succeeding in blowing Hitler up, et cetera.

    Future history is, naturally, so-far undetermined and therefore it can't technically be "alternate", but since the forum gathers a lot of people who are interested in history some will be fascinated in extrapolating known historical trends into the future, giving rise to the "future history" forum. There are few good future history timelines, for several reasons, the two main ones probably being that extrapolating technology beyond a decade or two takes a lot of knowledge and critical thinking, and the tendency of people to listen to "futurist wizards" who promise star trek in 2 months, aka wishful thinking.

    OP (voodooattack)'s story is future history fiction. Since it is prose, it would fit in the "alternate history writers forum". If you have a story, polish up what you can, then add some intro and something along the line "I've written this story, I'd love to have constructive criticism on it!" in the beginning and then post it. One day it is time to send your little boy to school or he won't grow up. ;)

    OP: What to polish up? So far: flesh it out more, check pacing. As a science fiction fan, I think that a fascinating idea can make a story better, but it can only partially excuse poor prose.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  9. Nov 2, 2014 #8
    Ok, i didnt even bother to give a date to my story, but if it is not a big problem, i try that site also.
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