Writing a book. Human numbers and spread after half a billion years. Esitmates.

  • #26
256bits
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500 million years have past since humanity came in control of a device that could send ships at great speeds across the universe, from the edge of one galaxy to the edge of another in weeks, sometimes even days. (There is a slight randomness of a couple of days to the travel time)

Problem 1 is the time frame of 500 million years that has already been pointed out. A civilization of 5000 to 10,000 years might be more digestible for a reader and easier to comprehend and understand why the Galactic Kingdom is now at WAR. Or why put any empahise on the timespan at all. Why not just a passing "We have been here for x number of eons and we are not going to let any c-- s---- b--- aliens with lizard popping green eyeballs just push us around." Humans can be prolific breeders with just enough spare time and resources.

Problem 2 is your device - somewhere you will have to explain its beginning and function. Calling it The Device and that it was found by the cave trekking Bob and Fred when eveyone thought they were lost but Eureka they came out 2 weeks later with The Device and told stries of going to other worlds leads nowhere but to rolling eyeballs. On second thought maybe that would work and they have statues in every world now..Surely every ship has The Device, in which case it has been duplicated and its internal workings known to the users. It is powered by the gamma phase inversion of space itself pioneered by Dr. Ginup D. Picjonston and Dr Emily Snod-Humfotjucot and allows a craft to create an expansion in space in the direction of travel with the ship being pulled along for the ride.

And as they say the rest is history.
 
  • #27
phinds
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My idea is that policies have been put in place to hinder certain development and genetic advancement. Those policies has then been followed with strict methods

Given the time span you are talking about, the concept that such restrictions would hold is optimism carried to the point of lunacy.
 
  • #28
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This doesn't make any sense for even more reasons.

In your scenario, after 500M year, humanity has expanded to the point where everyone lives a few weeks away from everyone else. You expect the total number of people to be 1017. That means that, on average, each couple has something like 2.0000008 kids - a population doubling time of 20 million years. To compare, it took something like 40 years for the most recent population doubling.

I don't see how you are going to hold your future humanity to 5 galaxies. If you go 1000x as far, you get 5 billion galaxies, with years to get from one edge of humanity to another, true, but only weeks to get from the edge of habitation to the next unoccupied galaxy.

You also have the problem "why is there war"? The people who feel they would be on the losing end can always find a sixth galaxy and pick up stakes. If they need to build spaceships anyway, why build warships when you could build run-away ships?
 
  • #29
Yes how dare I defy the laws of physics and reality in my imagination. How dare I write a piece of unrealistic fiction. THE CRIME!

There is only one solution for heretics such as myself:
And yes, I am implying that I'm an 80 year old lady.


I think you lot are taking this too seriously. :P
I'll just slap the "Fantasy" tag on the book and leave it more open for my own imagination. And then I can write it any way I want. :)
 
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  • #30
phinds
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Yes how dare I defy the laws of physics and reality in my imagination. How dare I write a piece of unrealistic fiction. THE CRIME!

I think you're missing the point of why we are giving you advice on this stuff. One of the excellent tenets of good sci fic is to only ask the reader to suspend disbelief on ONE major thing and everything else should make sense (within the context of that item). It sounds like you plan on asking the reader to suspend disbelief on pretty much everything, which doesn't seem like a good idea. Good luck with that.
 
  • #31
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I would love your opinion on this and any advice you can give.

Yes how dare I defy the laws of physics and reality in my imagination. How dare I write a piece of unrealistic fiction. THE CRIME!

Hmmmm.....
 
  • #32
Allright I will try to make an effort to address some of your concerns. I do appreciate that you try to help me, it's just, you seem to get lost into details I have not even told of yet.
I do not wish to bring these details up, forgive me for that. But I will try to explain some basics of my concepts to you.
And please do remember that this is not at all a too serious project.


I never really said these 500 million years would be a cake walk, there would of course be serious hardships and near extinction scenarios throughout the age.

In your scenario, after 500M year, humanity has expanded to the point where everyone lives a few weeks away from everyone else. You expect the total number of people to be 1017. That means that, on average, each couple has something like 2.0000008 kids - a population doubling time of 20 million years. To compare, it took something like 40 years for the most recent population doubling.

I don't see how you are going to hold your future humanity to 5 galaxies. If you go 1000x as far, you get 5 billion galaxies, with years to get from one edge of humanity to another, true, but only weeks to get from the edge of habitation to the next unoccupied galaxy.
Yes one would think we would have advanced much further, but we must also remember that the human mind and spirit is one of tradition and culture. And it might seem easy to just say "get up and move", that is, if you are not the one "getting up and moving".
Add to that a number of other difficulties, such as plauges, wars and most important; economy and you might get a basic idea. This will be more detailed in the book, but might give a slight hint as too how I'm thinking.

You also have the problem "why is there war"? The people who feel they would be on the losing end can always find a sixth galaxy and pick up stakes. If they need to build spaceships anyway, why build warships when you could build run-away ships?
Like I said above, we are a race of culture and tradition, to just leave your home is not a simple thing. And I never said there wouldn't be anyone who left their home, there will of course be many many groups who would have travelled far away to escape.

But the war is focused on a group that has a lot of space to control, it might be hard to move an entire galaxy just like that. This will also be explained in a bit more detail in the book.


I think you're missing the point of why we are giving you advice on this stuff. One of the excellent tenets of good sci fic is to only ask the reader to suspend disbelief on ONE major thing and everything else should make sense (within the context of that item). It sounds like you plan on asking the reader to suspend disbelief on pretty much everything, which doesn't seem like a good idea. Good luck with that.
Yes, and I appreciate you trying to help me, but this is not going to be a die-hard sci-fi. Just as long as things sound somewhat reasonable, based on the circumstances that I will add in the book, but not go into detail on here.

It's always important to remember that everything in life is not black and white, life is gray. And some things that may appear easy and shallow on the surface, can be very deep and complex once you enter it's domain.

I thank you all for your help, I have conceived some basic ideas and understanding from it, thanks, and a happy new year!
 
  • #33
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I understand what you are getting at, that one galaxy is not like any other, that they all come in different shapes and sizes. This will be handled in the book. A sidenote might be that this doesn't necessarily need to take place in our local galaxy cluster.
Yes, it does have to take place in the local group. You said that this story was about humanity. We live in the Local Group. That's how it got its name. I don't think you grasp the entire number problem. However, if you answer every objection with "This will be handled in the book", then the answer to your original question is yes, everything is feasible given a lenient author. The problem with the numbers is that there are about 50 galaxies in the local group only two of which can be considered in the same order of magnitude as the largest. As you say, in order to have 5 galaxies with roughly the same number of star systems having roughly the same inhabitants each, they would have to leave the local group. But this raises the question why are there only several of the 50 local galaxies colonized and yet far distant large galaxies are inhabited. Since it only takes weeks to get from one to the other, it should take little more than a year for a tourist to visit each galaxy in the local group and they have 500 million years in which to do it. Did they lie dormant for 499,990,000 years and then start colonizing 10,000 years ago? If so, then why not make a more reasonable jump 10,000 years from now rather than 500 million?
 
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  • #34
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Add to that a number of other difficulties, such as plauges,

You can't simultaneously have a rate of evolution that is orders of magnitude smaller than anything that has ever been observed in animals and a population whose numbers are limited by plagues.
 
  • #35
Yes, it does have to take place in the local group. You said that this story was about humanity. We live in the Local Group. That's how it got its name. I don't think you grasp the entire number problem. However, if you answer every objection with "This will be handled in the book", then the answer to your original question is yes, everything is feasible given a lenient author. The problem with the numbers is that there are about 50 galaxies in the local group only two of which can be considered in the same order of magnitude as the largest. As you say, in order to have 5 galaxies with roughly the same number of star systems having roughly the same inhabitants each, they would have to leave the local group. But this raises the question why are there only several of the 50 local galaxies colonized and yet far distant large galaxies are inhabited. Since it only takes weeks to get from one to the other, it should take little more than a year for a tourist to visit each galaxy in the local group and they have 500 million years in which to do it. Did they lie dormant for 499,990,000 years and then start colonizing 10,000 years ago? If so, then why not make a more reasonable jump 10,000 years from now rather than 500 million?
Mate, you need to relax a bit.
You seem to get lost into details and story elements I have not even shared. Things may seem weird and some things you may not understand right now, but these will be explained in the book.
And no, it does not need to take place in the local group. It's actually a vital part of the main story that it does not.
Also, I never said that any of the far reaching galaxies wouldn't be inhabited, when did I say that? You seem to confuse yourself with things I have never even told of.

I'm asking for the numbers of the main and some of the outer galaxies, because that's where my focus will be. If I had to include every little detail, the reader would be given a headache and the book would be more than a million pages, and I would be dead before I finished it. You need to come down to reality and see what is possible and what's not.

I'm creating an entire universe from my head, it's bound to be errors and holes, I'm just one human. And that's why I'm here, to try and correct some of these holes as good as possible, and some sadly can't be corrected.
Have a happy new year, and don't get lost in all the webs of confusion!


On-Topic
I also noticed a major flaw in my first topic, it's supposed to say:
10 million inhabited systems per main galaxy. (5 main galaxies)
And;
100 thousand inhabited systems per non-main galaxy. (unknown number non-main galaxies)
These are also of course estimates and approximates, no galaxy will have the same number.
Please forgive me for this complete blunder, I have quite a lot on my mind right now.
 
  • #36
Ryan_m_b
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Things may seem weird and some things you may not understand right now, but these will be explained in the book.
This is part of the problem, we can't help if when problems are raised you say you have a solution but don't reveal it.
If I had to include every little detail, the reader would be given a headache and the book would be more than a million pages, and I would be dead before I finished it. You need to come down to reality and see what is possible and what's not.

I'm creating an entire universe from my head, it's bound to be errors and holes, I'm just one human. And that's why I'm here, to try and correct some of these holes as good as possible, and some sadly can't be corrected.
This is a big problem, if you want to write good fiction you need to learn about willing suspension of disbelief. Good books work because they have a compelling story and have good, consistent worldbuilding. Leaving plot holes for your readers to stumble over will make reading the book a less enjoyable experience. There are some large problems that have been outlined in what you have told us so far and we are only trying to help address that.
On-Topic
I also noticed a major flaw in my first topic, it's supposed to say:
10 million inhabited systems per main galaxy. (5 main galaxies)
And;
100 thousand inhabited systems per non-main galaxy. (unknown number non-main galaxies)
These are also of course estimates and approximates, no galaxy will have the same number.
Please forgive me for this complete blunder, I have quite a lot on my mind right now.
Well if there is an average of 100 billion individuals per main inhabited system then in the core galaxies alone you get 5e18 or 5exapeople.
 
  • #37
There have been books written with similar premises. I know some authors prefer to not read similar books by other authors before they have written theirs for fear of cross contamination of ideas and worse yet that someone may have written their own idea before they did. So you may or may not be interested in reading these other books.

The Mote in God's Eye was written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and deals specifically with millions of years old civilizations. Jerry Pournelle has written a number of novels that seem to take place in the same "universe". In this universe, due to wars and simple break downs of civilization, they actually have no idea how many human populated planets there are any more and have "lost" several (That is they don't know where they are any more). In A Spaceship for the King he specifically explores this idea of human civilizations on planets that have not had contact with the rest of intergalactic human civilization for so long that they consider things like spaceships and other civilizations to be myths. Many planets require great resources just to survive let alone grow and so many societies remain fairly simplistic and frontiersman like getting most of their technology from passing military and trade vessels. Unifying rule over several galaxies is accomplished via imperialism.

I think that your logistics suffer not so much from matters of resources but the logistics themselves. How do you maintain and coordinate such an ungainly largely intergalactic society? Pournelle accounted for this with his empire and its general lack of concern for most smaller colonies that could hardly exist on their own let alone take part in the greater civilization.
 
  • #38
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I think that your logistics suffer not so much from matters of resources but the logistics themselves. How do you maintain and coordinate such an ungainly largely intergalactic society? Pournelle accounted for this with his empire and its general lack of concern for most smaller colonies that could hardly exist on their own let alone take part in the greater civilization.

This is the real barrier to interstellar civilizations. It would take years to complete a phone call between nearby star systems. One could invoke tachyons as a means of communication, but this involves time paradoxes. Almost the speed of light travel (ASOL) is one way for ship bound travelers to cruise around galaxies or well beyond. However one is also zipping into the future with no return ticket. My idea was for a bunch of earthbound hippies to overpower their alien benefactors and take over their technology (preserves the human factor). Using ASOL, they rampage through the universe planting civilizations everywhere as they race ahead into the future. No accountability. Just eternal sex, drugs and rock n' roll.
 
  • #39
My idea was for a bunch of earthbound hippies to overpower their alien benefactors and take over their technology (preserves the human factor). Using ASOL, they rampage through the universe planting civilizations everywhere as they race ahead into the future. No accountability. Just eternal sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Have you seen the SciFi comedy movie Paul? Not the same scenario really but similarly irreverent of the typical serious sci fi concept.
 
  • #40
So, I have been working a little on the numbers, and I hope I have managed to make them out alright.
There will be an average of 20 billion people per main system in the main galaxies. There will be an total of 230 million main systems across the 5 main galaxies.
The outer galaxies will have an average of 1 billion people per main system. There will be an average of 60 million main systems across 10 outer galaxies.
I'm using short scale by the way. (9 zero's at the billion)

Each war fleet will have an average of 20 thousand ships, some very, very large. And they will all contain an average of 5 billion in population for each fleet.
I suck with numbers, but my estimated war fleet number per main galaxy will be around 1000, with 2000 fleets in the capital galaxy. My gut tells me that this is way too little and that I should make that something like 10 thousand or maybe even 100 thousand, but I will let you guys have your opinion on it first.

I have always had big trouble with math and numbers, when there are too many zero's I get really dizzy and confused. :P
My proficiency, I would like to believe, is rather at human behavior and our psyche.
Thank you all for your help with this. Especially Ryan m b.

Now to fill in one of my large holes:
500 million years and humanity hasn't evolved. What do you think is the reason for this?
What can you imagine that might hinder evolution for 500 million years?

I have a few ideas myself such as; an ancient signal interfering? A certain radioactive interference? A special frequency? Perhaps a special drug or substance? Maybe an old genetic mutation gone wrong? Something else artificial? Perhaps some natural freak event?

Does any of these ideas sound like something the average person might accept?
And do you have any other idea?

I also want to clarify my goal; It's not to make my book believable by physics professionals, it's rather to reach out to the common human.
The book won't focus on science and technology, it will rather focus on the human psyche, human interaction, adventure, politics, grand scales and war.
So as long as a common human can imagine this world of mine, I have achieved my goal.

Thank you all for taking your time to help me!
 
  • #41
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Have you seen the SciFi comedy movie Paul? Not the same scenario really but similarly irreverent of the typical serious sci fi concept.

No. I looked it up. Looks like it might be worth seeing. Thanks. I'm not that much of a SF fan as most of it is just bad fiction set in unrealistic circumstances. One may as well just write fantasy. Good SciFi that is both scientifically credible and of literary value is rare. But a good spoof can be priceless.

BTW Paul was the name of that prescient octopus that predicted the outcome of something like 7 out of 8 soccer games. Now that's something to write about. It must have been an alien. I think all those strange looking intelligent mollusks are aliens. (No, not really.)
 
  • #42
Ryan_m_b
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Thank you all for your help with this. Especially Ryan m b.
No problem :smile:
I suck with numbers, but my estimated war fleet number per main galaxy will be around 1000, with 2000 fleets in the capital galaxy. My gut tells me that this is way too little and that I should make that something like 10 thousand or maybe even 100 thousand, but I will let you guys have your opinion on it first.
As I pointed out earlier I would suggest far, far more. As for how many crew that depends on automation etc and also considerations like how are you going to get the provisions for so many people for a long time and how so many people will get on and off in a reasonable time.
Now to fill in one of my large holes:
500 million years and humanity hasn't evolved. What do you think is the reason for this?
What can you imagine that might hinder evolution for 500 million years?

I have a few ideas myself such as; an ancient signal interfering? A certain radioactive interference? A special frequency? Perhaps a special drug or substance? Maybe an old genetic mutation gone wrong? Something else artificial? Perhaps some natural freak event?

Does any of these ideas sound like something the average person might accept?
And do you have any other idea?
I've bolded the key point. There really is no way to stop evolution, you would have to eliminate mutation and interaction between organisms and their environments. However if you want a SF answer that doesn't strain disbelief too much to the common SF reader you could suggest some type of nano/microbot that has infected all humans and on an individual level prevents mutation and at a species level maintains a constant allele frequency. I.e. if the ratio of brown eyed people trends towards zero some signal is sent out and babies start being born with brown eyes.

If you go with this though you have to then explain where this came from and why in half a billion years no human society has developed a way to remove it. The half a billion year thing really does make any plot device fail purely because (combined with cheap and easy FTL travel) it doesn't make sense that across all that time some group of colonists somewhere wouldn't run off and found a secret civilisation that will diverge greatly from the rest.
I also want to clarify my goal; It's not to make my book believable by physics professionals, it's rather to reach out to the common human.
The book won't focus on science and technology, it will rather focus on the human psyche, human interaction, adventure, politics, grand scales and war.
So as long as a common human can imagine this world of mine, I have achieved my goal.
In my opinion even the common man would have problems with a story set 0.5Gy in the future, the common SF reader is even more likely to. Is there any real reason why it has to be set so astronomically far ahead?
 
  • #43
As I pointed out earlier I would suggest far, far more. As for how many crew that depends on automation etc and also considerations like how are you going to get the provisions for so many people for a long time and how so many people will get on and off in a reasonable time.
1 million fleets? :O
Automation will be pretty balanced. Fleets will be almost completely self-sufficient, what ever they may need, civilian ships will most likely be able to produce. Mass production will be handled by machines while many overseeing tasks and other various duties will be handled by humans.
For example; in one large turret compartment there will be one command officer, one tactical officer, one turret control officer and a few technicians. There will be a computer that handles basic automated tasks such as reloading, while the important tasks such as what to aim at and when to fire and how to fire is handled by the turret squad. This kind of set-up (where man controls and machine handles petty tasks) will be true for most functions of the fleets, with exception of some things.
I estimate there would be quiet alot of large turret compartments.

In my opinion even the common man would have problems with a story set 0.5Gy in the future, the common SF reader is even more likely to. Is there any real reason why it has to be set so astronomically far ahead?
I want my reader to get a sense that the world is “immortal”. If it has existed for 500 million years, it could exist for another 500, something like that.
I want it to be huge and of an incomprehensible large scale, ever lasting and never fading, a world that has always been there and always will be there.
I will then use it as a bit of a “shocker” to the reader as they find out that the world is actually mortal, and that something truly horrific is threatening to end it's entire existence, and not just parts of it, but a total annihilation.
I hope this answer is good enough, as I don't want to go down into detail on it, I hope you can understand why.

Also, evolution will have run it's course here and there in my book. For example; some people who live on a planet with a certain sun and planet variable could have developed an bluish like skin, not entirely blue, but white or brown with some slight hint of blue. Same goes for many other colors. Hair will also have plenty of natural color variation.
And some others might develop some certain unique “powers” and no, not some super powers like flying around in the sky shooting laser beams from their eyes. :P
Instead I want to go with some more plausible or lower kinds of powers such as unnatural quick reaction, better thinking, increased hearing, super focused eye-sight, math prodigy, increased compressed strength, things like that.
I basically want our bodies and our psyche as we have it now to remain intact.
Here is where I have hit a snag, how the hell do we evolve in some ways but not in others? Right now I can't come up with a way to explain this, but I hope you guys can help me out with that.

I might be have to invoke “writers license” on the evolution part and just leave it at “some are blue, some ain’t”. But I don't want to do that. I would like the book to be slightly believable and slightly explainable in the most important parts, one which is the evolution part.

So is it slightly believable that the only “evolution” seen is that of color and sometimes in unique cases the mind, and no change's to the humanoid body look?

There will of course have been major changes to the human species in distant worlds where certain cross-breeding rules and other policies can't reach or be enforced, but this will not have a major focus in the book. At least not in the first.
 
  • #44
Ryan_m_b
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Would I be right in saying that you are inspired by a lot of old science fiction? The idea of far, far future civilisations that are basically no different from today apart from spaceships is an old troupe made famous by the likes of Asimov and Clarke. I'd also guess that you are inspired by milSF of the David Weber variety? I may be wrong but this is the impression I get. If so you may want to think about how SF has changed since these genres (technically Weber is still righting the same stuff but he started in 1990), there's been a big shift in recent years towards hard SF and transhumanist philosophy. Whilst you might not want to write that perhaps you should think about how a modern day SF reader who has become used to these things would view your book if they picked it up.
1 million fleets? :O
As I pointed out earlier in the thread millions of trillions of ships would be conservative using just the resources of one system.
Automation will be pretty balanced. Fleets will be almost completely self-sufficient, what ever they may need, civilian ships will most likely be able to produce. Mass production will be handled by machines while many overseeing tasks and other various duties will be handled by humans.
An offshoot of determining automation is how you are going to deal with AI. A lot of readers are going to wonder why in all this time no-one has cracked the strong AI problem. Even if you explain that away as not being possible many will wonder why even just well programmed weak AI isn't able to do all of these jobs.
For example; in one large turret compartment there will be one command officer, one tactical officer, one turret control officer and a few technicians. There will be a computer that handles basic automated tasks such as reloading, while the important tasks such as what to aim at and when to fire and how to fire is handled by the turret squad. This kind of set-up (where man controls and machine handles petty tasks) will be true for most functions of the fleets, with exception of some things.
I estimate there would be quiet alot of large turret compartments.
Things like turrets, tactical officers, command officers etc all seems very 1980/90s military SF. Are these positions and set ups really going to be around in half a billion years time?
I want my reader to get a sense that the world is “immortal”. If it has existed for 500 million years, it could exist for another 500, something like that.
I want it to be huge and of an incomprehensible large scale, ever lasting and never fading, a world that has always been there and always will be there.
I will then use it as a bit of a “shocker” to the reader as they find out that the world is actually mortal, and that something truly horrific is threatening to end it's entire existence, and not just parts of it, but a total annihilation.
I hope this answer is good enough, as I don't want to go down into detail on it, I hope you can understand why.
I just think that it isn't going to be possible to write a convincing story set so far in the future. Reason being that the reader will expect half a billion years of societal, biological and technological development. Why not set it in say 10,000 years time? That's still a monumental amount of time but wont trigger the same alarm bells.

Also I would suggest that once you have a setting where intergalactic FTL and colonisation are possible you have just created a system that could never collapse. Reason being even all out crusades to try and wipe everyone out will fail because all it takes is one band of colonists at one point in history to load up a ship with all the machinery, provisions etc and then FTL off to a galaxy billions of light years away. Then they can just set up a society in secret that every now and then also sends off a secret colony ship.
Also, evolution will have run it's course here and there in my book. For example; some people who live on a planet with a certain sun and planet variable could have developed an bluish like skin, not entirely blue, but white or brown with some slight hint of blue. Same goes for many other colors. Hair will also have plenty of natural color variation.
And some others might develop some certain unique “powers” and no, not some super powers like flying around in the sky shooting laser beams from their eyes. :P
Instead I want to go with some more plausible or lower kinds of powers such as unnatural quick reaction, better thinking, increased hearing, super focused eye-sight, math prodigy, increased compressed strength, things like that.
I basically want our bodies and our psyche as we have it now to remain intact.
Here is where I have hit a snag, how the hell do we evolve in some ways but not in others? Right now I can't come up with a way to explain this, but I hope you guys can help me out with that.

I might be have to invoke “writers license” on the evolution part and just leave it at “some are blue, some ain’t”. But I don't want to do that. I would like the book to be slightly believable and slightly explainable in the most important parts, one which is the evolution part.

So is it slightly believable that the only “evolution” seen is that of color and sometimes in unique cases the mind, and no change's to the humanoid body look?

There will of course have been major changes to the human species in distant worlds where certain cross-breeding rules and other policies can't reach or be enforced, but this will not have a major focus in the book. At least not in the first.
Evolution has no course. Organisms reproduce with variation i.e. their offspring have a few mutations in their DNA. These variations can cause phenotypic differences which can cause the organism to interact with its environment differently. If the variation helps it survive/reproduce then it will proliferate and pass on its mutation meaning that more of the next generation will have it, if the variation hinders survival/reproduction it will be removed. Some species are stable over millions of years simply because they are so well adapted to their environment that pretty much any change is a hindrance and so is bred out but you won't be able to write that as a reasonable reason for humans in your story; we adapt our environment to suit us but the way we adapt it changes with time/technology/culture etc so there will always be a varied environment and sexual selection will ensure change.

There is no natural plot device you can use, it would have to be artificial hence my suggestion above about some sort of artificial infection. But if you have an artificial explanation then you are going to have to come up with an explanation for why it applies universally and why no society has ever overcome it.
 
  • #45
Now to fill in one of my large holes:
500 million years and humanity hasn't evolved. What do you think is the reason for this?
What can you imagine that might hinder evolution for 500 million years?

I have a few ideas myself such as; an ancient signal interfering? A certain radioactive interference? A special frequency? Perhaps a special drug or substance? Maybe an old genetic mutation gone wrong? Something else artificial? Perhaps some natural freak event?

Does any of these ideas sound like something the average person might accept?
And do you have any other idea?

I also want to clarify my goal; It's not to make my book believable by physics professionals, it's rather to reach out to the common human.
The average person may think it odd that the species has not changed or evolved much over such a time period but it can easily be lost in the suspension of disbelief. So some readers may knit their brow for a moment but almost all will simply continue reading and never mind it until such time as you bring it up. If there is a problem with accepting the scenario it will undoubtedly come from a poor attempt at explaining it. I once found a good list of rules-of-thumb for writers that I can not actually find at the moment unfortunately but one of those rules was rather interesting. Basically no matter how much research you do and how perfectly and scientifically accurate you make something if that something will generally be considered unlikely then your research is not going to make your audience, who has not done said research themselves, consider it any more likely. So, essentially, the problem of disbelief cuts both ways. Funny huh?

My personal advice would be to not draw too much attention to the issue if possible. People with blue skin may draw a bit much attention. People from certain places tending to be shorter and stockier while people from others tend to be taller and thinner with vague references to differing gravity, not so much of an issue. The nano tech option mentioned by Ryan is a good out. Greg Bear has used it to interesting effect in some of his books including people who give themselves "designer" bodies. The manner in which people appear could be wholly a matter of aesthetic preference. There may even be some sort of caste system where by fetuses in utero are "designed" for specific purposes though that creates a whole other slew of political, philosophical, and social issues that you may not have a desire to deal with in your world.


For example; in one large turret compartment there will be one command officer, one tactical officer, one turret control officer and a few technicians. There will be a computer that handles basic automated tasks such as reloading, while the important tasks such as what to aim at and when to fire and how to fire is handled by the turret squad. This kind of set-up (where man controls and machine handles petty tasks) will be true for most functions of the fleets, with exception of some things.
I estimate there would be quiet alot of large turret compartments.
Just a note, we currently have (and have had) technology that has allowed fully automated gatling gun turrets on our navel vessels. They can actually track and choose targets on their own from what I understand. It certainly may follow your aesthetic better for there to be individually manned turrets, and that is completely fine, I am just letting you know that it is not really necessary.
 
  • #46
About A.I; there will be basic A.I, but there have been disasters throughout the ages, causing great fear, and forced laws and policies in place that prohibited the creation of more advanced forms of A.I.
These laws are of course not followed everywhere, nor can they be enforced completely.
A.I will handle mundane and petty tasks, it will also work as a sort of suggestion system, but it will not be able to make decisions on it's own. It will always require a human operator to accept a suggestion or decision.
My main focus will be on humans, they will handle most important things.

As to FTL and ASOL (Almost Speed of Light), I will have none of these kinds of travel, the way they travel is secret right now and something I will not share, sorry. :(
However I can assure you that they will not be able to escape from the threat of annihilation, I can not go into detail on how or why, sorry for that. :O

The turret positions will be around in my book, yes, but only for the larger more devastating ones, as there could be “incidents” if you just allow one man to control something important, there will always be teams of minimum 2 people to handle the larger more important life and death objects.
For example; it would be pretty bad if we put just one guy in charge of a nuclear missile silo and it's entire firing sequence's. The cold-war could have ended very differently if we did.
Two men combined usually make a better decision than one man alone.

One must also remember that you don't necessarily win a war by destroying your enemy, you win it by integrating them, making them join your side. This is especially true, I would like to believe, in a world of many worlds. ;)

Fear and the preservation of old meets advancement and moving forward, is pretty much the summary of my first book. For 500 million years, they will have struggled between advancement and preservation. And it has not been an easy ride. I realize the 500 million years number is a bit over the top, but its been etched into solid stone and cannot be changed. :O
 
  • #47
The more realistic number of living humans in half billion years is closer to 0 than to 1 in my opinion.
0.1 humans then? :P
That would make for quiet an interesting story by the way:

Jokely The Head made his way forward in the dark empty void of space, unwillingly, as he had not wished the fate that had been bestowed upon him.
It was 500 million years ago that the anomaly which had saved him, had also destroyed the sun of his home world. The anomaly had protected Jokely by engulfing him in a sphere of energy, it protected him from the blast of the sun, but not from the force of the push.
He had been standing in a very particular way trying to reach a coin laying between two large stone blocks.
His head was trapped in the anomaly, but not his body. Jokely had then been flung out from his annihilated solar system by the force of the solar explosion, with just his head left.

The anomaly had kept him alive for 500 million years.
But Jokely didn't know that, for him, time was just a flowing river of eternal torture. He had been traveling throughout the universe in a great speed, seeing only dots of light pass by him slowly in the distant void. He had no idea how he had survived, or why the anomaly choose him.
The only thing he knew for certain, was that he was the only human left alive.
“Alive” he pondered over the word, so many from his species had been looking and searching for immortality, to stay alive forever.

Jokely knew what immortality was, and he didn't like it. He longed for his precious death, for he had just spent 500 million years with his own thoughts. Seeing the same small dots passing by, the same black void, the same darkness, the same energy sphere that surrounded him. If a joke had been played on him, it was most certainly not a funny one.

This exact minute however, were very different from all the countless others, this time, he could see that something was different. The anomaly was failing.
He could see the energy sphere that surrounded him was flickering, it had been doing it for several days in an increasing phase. Jokely was both shocked and surprised at this development, he had been alive for so long, that he barely remembered what death was. And now in this instant the energy sphere was flickering like it had never done in the past few days, faster and faster it started to fade after each flicker.

Jokely was excited, nothing interesting of this magnitude had happened in a very long time. He could remember the coin now, he saw it so clearly, as well as other memories, they flashed by him in a great speed, almost crushing his mind. And he could feel happiness now, as he remembered his entire life, something that he had been lost with time.

The sphere now completely faded, he could feel the cold of space touching his skin, a freezing and yet burning sensation, he had no time to scream, nor could he. The stars faded from his sight and the darkness grew on his eyes. It was now completely black, he had lost all feeling and at his final thought of consciousness, he pondered: “What a hell of a way to die”.


I just had to write that, I couldn't resist, sorry. :P
 
  • #48
Ryan_m_b
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Science Advisor
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Well best of luck with it. There's not much we can help with if we don't know more (unless you have more things you wish to ask?). I especially wish you luck with that 500 million year figure, that really is going to be a challenge! That's an enormous amount of history to cover especially given an intergalactic setting.
 
  • #49
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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It's hard to imagine how long a time 500 million years is. 500 million years ago:

There were no people.
There were no apes.
There were no primates.
There were no vertebrates.
There were no land animals of any kind.
There was no land life of any kind.

The closest human relative then was something that resembled coral or a sponge.
 
  • #50
MarcoD
There really is no way to stop evolution, you would have to eliminate mutation and interaction between organisms and their environments.

Yah, I believe so too. There's no manner in which to stop evolution unless you decide so yourself by prohibiting it for some reason and move over to cloning people. There could be reasons to do so, of course, but the most natural outcome would be that the species would die at some point because of some super-flu emerging. So you would need to clone not only the species, but the whole of nature consistently.

It probably is a nice idea for a book though.
 

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