FAQs

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Destructionator
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FAQs

Post by Destructionator » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:00 pm

This thread is for three things: real FAQs (things people have actually asked me a few times), fake FAQs (stuff I just want to pontificate about but don't fit in another thread), and your own questions.

On A'millians

Why don't your aliens not clone themselves after the holocaust? Do they not care about the future of their race? That seems contrary to evolutionary principles.

I've been asked this one a couple times. It shows a misunderstanding of what cloning can do (so fucking common) and of what evolution favors (again, very common).

First off, cloning can't magically create new genetic material. It copies something that already exists, and if there is no existing material left, you can't clone it. This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, since you could likely retrieve material from the rotting, disease infested corpses. Which is as safe and easy as it sounds.

Second, cloning mammals requires a womb for it to grow into. With most the females dead, this is going to be a pain, but could be worked around with advanced technology.

Third, cloned organisms are born as infants, just like everyone else. They'd have to be raised from birth, which is a huge amount of work, but not impossible to work around.

Fourth, since they would need to be raised by different people and in a different culture than before, they would turn out far, far different than the original civilization.


The fact of the matter is the people are dead and their civilization is gone. No amount of cloning is going to change that.


But, you ask, shouldn't the survivors be forced to try anyway? How the could a species that doesn't care about their own species' survival evolve in the first place?

This shows a misunderstanding of natural selection. While the population as a whole (which is all evolution ever talks about) will need to propagate itself to be an evolutionary success, the individual doesn't even need to care about himself (look up evolution of homosexuality for example), and certainly not the species as a whole.

This should be obvious if you think about it. Consider, do you have an instinct to propagate the human race or do you have an instinct to just fuck someone? Notice that the instinct often isn't even to produce offspring - that's just a side effect of the fucking instinct.

Same thing here. Their propagation instinct doesn't really go beyond copulation when mating season comes around, and intelligence and ethics and such certainly don't require it, and might even say cloning someone into such an environment would be considered unethical.


Does mating season mean public orgies?!

No. I don't understand how so many people can even think this in the first place. When mating season comes around (it is actually influenced by several factors, which I've gone into detail about elsewhere), their sex drive is simply a wee bit closer to normal humans. That's it. (Remembering, of course, their natural monogamy.)

During the rest of the year, it is almost to entirely (depending on the individual) non-existant. Couple this with their culture saying things like sex (and even kissing) are very private affairs, and you might think A'millia is a giant monastery when looking at it. Thus, even if the drive were as elevated as some humans like to assume, it wouldn't be public.


Why do they have such radically coloured hair?

Because Luna's cute.
Image

In universe, I explain it as the radical colors stand out, giving a slight competitive advantage to both sexes when mate hunting. It also serves to be another little variation between them and regular Earth mammals to look more alien: no mammal on Earth has green hair, for example, whereas it is common A'millian mammals.


On technology

Why fission power?

I'm not convinced of the realism of downsizing the volume, mass, and maintenance requirements of a fusion reactor and its fuel while keeping its power output and reliability high.

I am indeed entirely convinced fission power can do the job however. I am also pretty convinced that fusion power for large scale applications is feasible, which is why things like big space fortresses are fusion powered. Though for most civilian applications, both fission and fusion are outcompeted by space based solar.

I also have fusion power for things like battleships (the Minovsky generator, named, of course, for the device from Mobile Suit Gundam. No Minovsky particles though; they'd break my setting.), but even then, maintain that it is outperformed by fission if you can afford the fuel.


Aren't you being a little conservative with advances?

Yup. There are a few reasons for that: number one is it is easier to stick to guaranteed realism; if it has already been done in the real world, I can use those numbers knowing I'm not breaking any laws of physics. Second is I want to show the kind of optimistic possibilities that await the real world in the very near future, showing awesome things that can be done with existing or developing present day technology.

Since too much conservatism can lead to unrealistic stuff for the opposite reason (imagine Heinlein's rockets plotted by guys with slide rules as an example), as time goes on, I do try to advance some things, but since the main story focuses on the somewhat socially conservative author insert (doubly so since much of the stuff I've written about here is in his early life) we don't often see much of this.

In short, I enjoy talking about history and the near future moreso than the far future.

I'm currently reworking the latter years to try to counteract this, changing a lot of the old stagnation story around to become just outright bizarre in my eyes, but still all possible.


Your ships are so slow! Why?

Realistic spacecraft drives will tend to have poor acceleration or absolutely huge propellant or power requirements (which can lead right back to poor acceleration as the mass of the tanks/powerplant increases).

There are a few exceptions, but the majority of realistic drives hold true to this assumption, and since realism is important here, so do my spacecraft.


FTL?! Bah, I wanted hard sci-fi!

Yeah, me too, but I like my aliens and their homeworld, so the magic plot device warp drive is necessary. I try to not let it get in the way of the hard stuff when I can and figure out its consequences and whatnot when I can't; I still approach it from a generally hard perspective.

But yeah, it does break a few things that would be fun, like realistic interstellar exploration and colonization. That sucks ass, but having the aliens interact with Earth the way they do makes up for it.

Shields?! Bah, I wanted hard sci-fi!

But shields are fun! They also don't really break anything, and with tweaking, can 'fix' some things, like making the little alien ships be able to be a threat against ravaging interplanetary death beams. Compared to FTL, the shields are nothing.

Misc

Who would win in a fight, the ASE or Star Trek/Star Wars/X?

Depends on the plot requirements. I don't really care otherwise.

Are you ever going to continue your fics or other seemingly abandoned threads?

Yes. I've two fics in the works right now (one of which being a rewrite of the stuff already posted on OZ). I just need to find the time and motivation to actually type it all up. This can mean long waits with me, but I always get back around to it eventually.




Your questions here!

Post any you have and I shall answer.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Destructionator
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Re: FAQs

Post by Destructionator » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:59 am

I just got asked another one on IM:

Why are all the alien's names so mundanely English?

Primarily because most of them are named after (or as I prefer to say it, 'share a name with', since named after implies more respect than is due) to people I know in real life, other fiction, and some people on the Internet and even the occasional famous person.

Since the names are borrowed from mostly Americans, they tend to be American names, and even generally fall into modern day gender roles too (such as Carol being primarily a female name; in history, it wasn't so skewed). The gender thing is something I might go ahead and mix up as I revise the character list, since A'millian males and females barely differ at all, making a distinction in their culture illogical.

I can wave my hand and use the above reasoning for alien names sounding English, but the gender one implies stuff about the culture that isn't necessarily true.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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