Monday, February 22, 2010

Give me wide open outer spaces…

Space… The final frontier… These be the voyages of the starship Fortune’s Fool. Arrr five-year mission be to explore new worlds and plunder their riches, to be the most feared band of pirates in the Andromeda System, to discover the dirty bilge rat what be stealing arrr rum and keel-haul ‘em, and to boldly go where no pirates have gone before!

This week I be –- ahem -- I am talking about a setting I’d love to write about but haven’t…yet. As you may have guessed, I’d love to write a novel set in space. But not just any space novel. I want to write about pirates in space. Think Star Trek meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why would I want to write something like this? Well, first of all, it would be a lot of fun. I enjoy the process of world-building and a space pirate novel would give me the opportunity to literally create worlds.

Second, and this may come as shock to some, I like pirates. However, I have an extreme phobia of large bodies of water. (So naturally I live on the Gulf Coast. Yeah, I’m still trying to figure that one out myself.) My phobia would prevent me from ever writing a novel based on the high seas. Space seems a logical alternative.

Third, it would be a challenge. In my other works, such as BLOOD LAW, even though my main character is a vampire, she is bound by certain laws of nature -– mainly gravity. In space, gravity takes on a whole new role. Some planets have less where as some have more. Stars create various levels of gravitational pull. Black holes are the universal bullies. Years of research have been conducted on black holes. If I were use one in a novel, I’d have to be certain the science (for the most part) is correct. If not, I’ll be facing a mutiny of epic proportions.

Then there are the actual ships to consider with regard to science. Do they have gravity? If so, how is it generated? If not, what are the long-term effects of zero-gravity and how might a humanoid race evolve in such an environment? Are the pirates recognizable as humanoid or are they completely alien? The possibilities are infinite.

For me, setting is playtime but is also one of the more important aspects of the story. It’s vital to get it right. When discussing setting, it’s often easier to refer to films simply because of their visual natural. Would Bladerunner be just as cool if it were set in the Old West? What if True Grit played out against the backdrop of feudal Japan? Would Darth Vader’s famous line deliver the same punch if he told Luke he was Luke’s father atop the Empire State building instead of the bowels of Cloud City?

I don’t think so. Setting, as in real estate, boils down to location, location, location. Some of us just choose more exotic locales than others. So drink up, me hearties –- yo ho!


Beth Caudill said...

I would love to read of pirates in space (particularly if they looked like Johnny Depp).

Setting is important but you can also fudge in space somewhat by being on a Space Station or ship with artificial gravity.

Linnea Sinclair just did a great workshop on Creating Your Space Military. While you wouldn't do the military, the workshop also covered creating ships/stations. You'd just need to set up your own pirate code.

Maybe read one of Linnea's books. I have two or three in my TBR pile. (I've read more Paranormal and Fantasy stories recently but Linnea is one of the ones I've seen recommended the most for Science Fiction Romance)

Sophie Littlefield said...

I would SO love to do a space story, probably bec. that's one of the few genres I've never tried. But yeah, that accuracy thing is a killer. I'd flunk for sure.

Jeannie Holmes said...

Hi Beth!

Artificial gravity is great but the question of how it's generated still has to be answered. I could definitely use my creative license and fudge certain aspects of the science but I know too many geeks (and I mean that in a respectful and loving way) who would blast me for not getting at least some of the science correct. (The chief geek who would bust me is none other than my own husband. I can't give him that sort of leverage. Lol!)

I read a lot of sci-fi & fantasy, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal fiction. I've heard good things about Linnea's books but haven't picked them up yet. I'll definitely do so soon and before I venture into the realm of the space pirates. :-)

Jeannie Holmes said...

Hey Soph!

The accuracy thing is one reason I haven't done the space books yet. It's so much easier to write about vampires. Even the demon books I'm outlining are easier and you should see the amount of research I threw into those. ;-)

Kelli Stanley said...

Great post, sweetie!! I love the idea of science fiction ... it's the science part that would take forever!! ;)

I once wrote a time-travel screenplay and was very happy with how I worked out the issue ... but that's more fantasy than science fiction. I tremble in my anti-gravity suit to think about the work involved in a space saga!

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Thanks so love love to all!


Rebecca Cantrell said...

I love the idea of a pirate space story. I mean, Han Solo is kind of a pirate, I think. Mercenary/pirate is a thin line.

I think you could totally pull one off, Jeannie!

The nerd in me wants to write one too. Maybe someday...

Terry Stonecrop said...

The gravity is intimidating but it sounds like a fun story!

I thought blackholes were up in the air, like they may not exist. But that could have changed.

Shane Gericke said...

I wanna write a pirate opera just to say "Arrrrrrgh" a lot :-)

And the neat thing writing about putting it in space is, there really isn't a wrong fact. Yes, you have to get some of it right--humans couldn't breathe without oxygen, etc.--but all the rest of the Star Trekky stuff is made up anyway. Just cause Asimov created rules for robots, for instance, doesn't mean you have to follow them--that was his fantasy creation. You can make your own.

So arrrrrrgh, where are me space monkeys with me gold dubloons?

Joshua Corin said...

Space pirates sound awesome! Would they have the Jolly Roger painted on the side of the hull? Would they wield laser-cutlasses and have red-eyed robotic parrots perched on their cybernetic shoulders?