I Serve the Devil in the DetailsMature

"The Devil is in the details."  Ah, an idiom that I am sure nearly everyone has heard.  Those small details we often overlook can lead to failure.  Well, if you look too hard for too long at those details, you will arrive at the same result.

My preferred genre for reading and writing is science fiction.  When I am reading such a story, I am willing to overlook certain details (initially).  It's that little thing we all have called willing suspension of disbelief.  Well, if I like a story enough, I look more deeply into it, and my suspension of disbelief collapses.

Take, for instance, the Honor Harrington series by David Weber.  It is a tale of twenty years of near constant warfare between kilometer long starships firing nuclear missiles that fire lasers at each other.  No, I didn't forget to remove a few words there.  Even I was surprised to find that such weapons are in fact possible, though I won't bore you with the details.  And the combat range is enormous compared to something like Star Wars or Star Trek!  Why, over time the range increases from a mere ~13 million km to over 100 million km.  In my opinion, it's pretty freakin' cool.

But alas, someone who is better at math than me (and my primary major is about a third engineering) ran a few calculations.  The largest class of ships were described early on as being about 2.5 km long and a few hundred meters in diameter, massing anywhere from 6.5-8.5 million tons.  This translates to a density of... slightly more than cigar smoke.

That was probably the start of the end for my suspension of disbelief.  I found a website devoted to finding similarities between various stories, movies, TV shows, etc, and it died overnight.

Now, I can barely put words on paper.  Well, that's not true.  I write tens of thousands of words of looking at central issues for my stories from multiple perspectives.  If I'm curious about something, I research it.  If it really piques my interest, I'll play with it for a bit.  For instance, I made a calculator in Excel to look at muzzle energy from theoretical weapons.  Why, did you know that a 1 gram chunk of metal fired at 2.5 kps has nearly the same muzzle energy as a 7.62mm NATO round?  With a few tweaks, I used a much larger projectile at much higher speeds and created statistics for 13 starships in the same universe.

I have been working to expand several factions in the very same universe using the most logical processes I can come up with.  In all honesty, I have spent two years working in this same universe to without writing but a few thousand words of scenarios to test my progress.  What is ridiculous is that I didn't create this universe from scratch.  It's fanfiction.

Luckily, I've kind of realized what I've been doing and I have been making decisions rather than wavering back and forth and adjusting details.  Perhaps in another year or so I might start writing.  Just a few more details to work out...

The End

9 comments about this work Feed