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OK, so for my science fiction, I don't go too deep into the science because that's constantly changing and what was true today is wrong tomorrow but take a time machine and it'll be correct yesterday.
So I went with the "Alien" and "Aliens'' kind of future - lived in, people are pretty much the same fundamentally, but with cooler tech...and there are aliens (duh), both on our side and very much against us in my future civilization, known as the Sectors.If I need to add something nifty and complex for part of a plot, I go off and research whatever we have nowadays that will help me make my ship/feature/alien/weapon/civilization feel more grounded in reality for the readers. so I've researched cruise ships, aircraft carriers, sequioa trees, ancient ball games, anatomy of insects, Special Forces training, synthesia, surgical techniques for penetrating abdominal wounds, Legionnaires Disease.....and some aspects of my world building just spring full blown from my own brain.
For my ancient Egyptian novels, there's the entire history of the land along the Nile to look at and draw from.
I'm not trying to be dismissive, but as I've mentioned here before, I'm not a deep thinker of craft...I'm a story teller who puts in enough background to support the story and my characters, and have it all feel right to my readers. The more books I write, the more my universe becomes fleshed out and the more connecting links there are between the stories. It feels like organic growth to seat-of-the-pants writer me, versus sitting down and developing a Tolkienesque world with maps and backstory going generations into the past. I applaud people who can do that and want to do that and need to do that for their books - it's just not me. (I will not be writing any epic fantasies anytime soon, can you tell? I read them with relish though - give me more Jeffe Kennedy books any day!)
Here's an excerpt from my latest scifi romance, The Fated Stars, where the characters give a bit of world building history I've alluded to in various books but never detailed before:
Larissa swallowed hard. “Another fact you should probably know—most humans can’t even look directly at Mawreg. There’s something about them that can drive a human insane.”
Samell stared at her, even as Pete and Donnie nodded. “When we go on sorties into their camps to rescue people or take the entire operation down, we have to wear helmets with special filter goggles and even then a few guys have lost their minds. Mawreg are bad ass, spooky.”
“And we haven’t got any of those helmets here,” Donnie added. “Not a piece of tech I can whip up from spare parts either.”
“Are you serious? I find this concept hard to grasp—how can merely gazing upon the alien can make a person lose their mind?” Samell’s voice was polite.
“First encounter between our kind and the Mawreg was a peaceful scientific expedition, all excited to have met another spacefaring race,” Larissa said.
“The Peronelle. Learned about it in school, in Sectors history class.” Pete confirmed the tale. “Hundreds of years ago. Luckily the humans already had a few interstellar allies and fairly soon after met the Mellureans for the first time. Now they are badass.”
“The Peronelle survivors the Mawreg spared to tell the tale described in gruesome detail how their comrades went insane when forced to watch their hosts. The ship’s AI had vids to corroborate. The vids also showed the Mawreg eating people alive, and conducting horrific experiments on others. Apparently the aliens thought it would frighten us into surrendering and accepting their rule, but all it did was make us determined to do battle every chance we got. No truce, no quarter given.” Larissa sighed. “And the war’s been raging ever since.”
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