Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Where Would You Arrive?

   
Author Topic: Where Would You Arrive?
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A spacefaring extraterrestrial society decides to send a mission to visit Earth and arrange trade for essential resources, artworks, entertainment media, cultural artifacts, technology, and information technology. Deciding who will go depends on the candidates proposing logical and practical parameters for where the arrival should take place. The arrival is unannounced.

Out in the open? Discretely or covertly? In a capital city's center? Near or in a high security installation? In the middle of a trackless wilderness of whatever ecosystem? In orbit? On the open seas? At a trade center or shopping complex? In a small country or a developed industrial country?

Where would you suggest arrival is best for the sake of the mission's success? The location and context. Anywhere in the world or near cislunar space. Preexisting transportation infrastructure is nonessential.

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reziac
Member
Member # 9345

 - posted      Profile for Reziac   Email Reziac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think it depends on a couple factors:

--The species and cultural 'personalities' of our visitors. Are they naturally secretive? or do they prefer to make an entrance? do they restrict contact to 'higher castes' or will anyone they encounter do? etc, etc, etc.

--Their perception of Earth. Do they expect welcome, hostility, or ??

The intersection of these two factors will determine where they land, how they behave, and who they attempt to interact with.

Your aliens may vary. [Smile]

Posts: 742 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
legolasgalactica
Member
Member # 10087

 - posted      Profile for legolasgalactica   Email legolasgalactica         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Reziac took the words right out of my mouth... well, he was probably more eloquent, but mirrored my thoughts anyway. But my inclination, offhand, would be in orbit or covertly. Now, if you were aiming for comedy, many other possibilities seem interesting.
Posts: 164 | Registered: Jun 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think it would depend on just what the aliens intend to trade for---as opposed to just "first contact," which could also split itself along various lines.
Posts: 8715 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
shimiqua
Member
Member # 7760

 - posted      Profile for shimiqua   Email shimiqua         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is a Psychology test isn't it? Who you are depends on where you would land.

If you are an overly confident person, you'd arrive with a bang, directly over the main city, let everyone know. This is a good idea, because if every knows, then they can't kill you without someone disapproving.

If you are a shy person, you might suggest landing in the middle of a forest far away from people, so that you can creep into the scene and learn information before entering into society.

I think it depends on time also. If you want to save the world from something imminent threat, you won't have time to wait around and learn from them, or anything. You go straight to the largest city you can find and say "take me to your leader."

But if the threat has a greater countdown, or if you are the threat, then you'd go about it slowly. Seep into the world instead of splash down.

Unless of course your taking over the world is on a timeline too, then you can make a splash.

There are a thousand ways and a thousand right answers.

Posts: 1201 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Being well-versed in contact tableaus: historical, real-world, fictional, fantastical; my interest is in others as yet unrealized, what you might imagine context-wise and texture-wise: who, when, where, what, why, and how, as wild or sensible or reasonable as you may imagine.
Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How would these aliens decide which of the many metropolises across the earth is "the main city" if that were the approach they decided to take?

Of course, they might take the INDEPENDENCE DAY approach and appear over every major metropolis all at the same time.

Posts: 8522 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rstegman
Member
Member # 3233

 - posted      Profile for rstegman   Email rstegman         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Do like most alien encounter stories happen,

Locate the dummest country bumpkin on a remote farm or in a forest, and depend on him to get a message to the president.....

That always works.....<g>
(makes for great stories anyway...)

Posts: 1002 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Before or after the probing?
Posts: 8715 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Initial arrival in the Main Strait south of Singapore is where I'd nominate. Singapore has a reputation for deep culturally reinforced guest hospitality. Not to mention Singapore is an island nation-state country at a major crossroads of global trade, finance, and culture. Though Singapore has a technologically advanced military, diplomacy and deterence are the country's foreign and military policies, respectively. Singapore arrival would be most suitable due to least likely possibility of force majeur coercion from superpowers, which would check each others' aggressions.

As a singular entity through which trade would flow from across the globe, Singapore would be the contact factor filtering and organizing trade. Dealing with one entity, one on one, is also least competitively contentious.

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reziac
Member
Member # 9345

 - posted      Profile for Reziac   Email Reziac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Also their perception of Earth will be colored by current events. Aliens arriving at the height of WW2 will see Earth differently from visitors who arrive during a moon landing, or in 1000 A.D.

Under species and cultural 'personality', put factors like -- why are they here? a research expedition and a slave raid certainly have different motivations.

Posts: 742 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Depends too on the aliens' motives. Suppose they're honest traders...or maybe they want to deal in superior technology in order to place Earth in economic servitude...
Posts: 8715 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The central dramatic complication, generally, I have in mind is the misundertandings caused by contact tableaus and their ensuing, escalating complications. Not superpower overlording underdeveloped culture, not bug-eyed monster invasion, not Prime Directive instabilities.

Two more or less equal societies, equal ethnicities, physiologically and psychologically equal species meet for trade. This is a futuristic variant of the Blanket Trade ritual. Parties with wares to trade lay them out on blankets. Shoppers sample the wares. Interested traders come together and bid for each others' wares with their own wares. A mutual, reciprocal meeting of price-value is reached or not.

The Ark of Discovery traders have wares from other pan galatic civilizations collected on their many millenial era venture: curio objects, culture artifacts, entertainment media, knowledge information, information technology, and technology. They want trade in kind and strategic material like trace and scarce minerals and undiscovered compounds. They are especially attracted to luxury consumables with discrete sensory qualities, like champaigne, scotch, exquisite vintages, and curious about other mind and mood altering substances and medications. They will also trade for recipes. They want the entirety of the literature, stage, radio, and film opuses.

Life aboard the Ark of Discovery is routinely dull, though every effort is made to keep things interesting. The trade expedition to Earth satisfies part of that.

The Ark of Discovery has looped around the galaxy. It is a large habitat. Crew do their thing. Passengers exist as best they can, largely blissfully ignorant of anything more than their immediate moment concerns. Every basic need is provided for. Yet some want more.

The traders are those who want more out of life and competed for the privilege to satisfy that want. Problem: it's a one-way trip. Concerns about communicable diseases demand sterilization of any returning cargoes. No living organisms survive sterilization protocols. Genome patterns, though, are collected and synthesized for uses aboard the ark.

The ark passes by out in open space between solar systems' gravitationally attracted matter spheres. Trade missions launch years in advance, collect and transship acquistions, and ultimately remain behind. The ark continues on to the next discovery. This is like Ferdinand Magellan's global expedition.

[ December 12, 2013, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reziac
Member
Member # 9345

 - posted      Profile for Reziac   Email Reziac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And in its wake come the galactic pirates... they see no need to attack the ship when they can just appropriate the newly-traded goods.
Posts: 742 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Smaug
Member
Member # 2807

 - posted      Profile for Smaug   Email Smaug         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe in the future, when climate change has left the earth bereft of life...
Posts: 440 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You have your creative visions; I have mine. They are far apart.

A novel in three books, one hundred twenty thousand words altogether. First book, the ark's trader selection competition, twenty-five thousand words. Second book, the trade mission, seventy thousand words. Third book, life afterward aboard the ark, twenty-five thousand words. The first two books follow a protagonist and deuteragonist, who have a final, irrevocable, unequivocal outcome in the second book's denouement. The third book, an afterlude in counterpoint to the first book's prelude, follows the last cargo shipment's difussion into the ark culture and celebrates the traders successful mission in memorium. The "natural object" around which the third book centers I haven't decided yet. Something symbolic yet underplayed from the first book reinvented probably. Passenger berth culture maybe. Life aboard the ark returns to equilibrium.

No pirates, except for ignoble opportunists and trade exploiters. Robber barons. Overreachers get their deserved comeuppance. Somewhat.

[ December 12, 2013, 04:01 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, the very first thing I would do is that I'd consult the history of past attempts at first contact, and any guidelines developed from those experiences. If there were no such guidelines, this would surely mean this is the first first contact scenario for my civilization. This would be important, so I'd take my time.

First I'd do a thorough survey of the solar system, looking for signs of exploration by the natives. A radio frequency survey would show a small number of crude probes on ballistic trajectories,setting an upper bound on the Earth's spacefaring capabilities. Then I'd set up unmanned probes just inside geosynchronous orbit, and if that provoked no response move the probe closer until it was in low orbit, doing a detailed photographic and RF survey. If that provoked no response I'd then retrieve air and soil samples, which would reveal the use of atomic weapons in the last century, but not recently.

The next step would be to make radio contact and initiate communication, in which case I'd land where invited. If for some reason that were impractical, if I had to make first contact in person. I would look for the most advanced population center I could find. How would I measure that?

Well there's a brief period in a civilization's history where the most advanced city is the most polluted, e.g. London in the early to mid 1800s. But at some point you can measure the advancement of a civilization by its ability to achieve scale without fouling its own nest.

Start with the ten cleanest cities in the world: Calgary, Honolulu, Helsinki, Ottawa, Minneapolis, Oslo, Stockholm, Zurich, Katsuyama, and Bern in order of least to most clean. Of these the largest city is Minneapolis, so that would be my first choice for the most advanced city in the world. Just by pure luck I would also discover the Mall of the Americas! The runner-up in this algorithm is Stockholm, followed by Helsinki.

Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Assume all of the above, that reliable as possible intelligence is gathered by all parties, somewhat open, somewhat withheld close to the vest, so to speak, that part of the trader candidate selection criteria presumes research on the part of candidates into previous contacts as well as into the upcoming contact. Also that negotiations will decide the initial landing site. Assume continental North and South American landing, as well as Asian, European, Indian subcontinent, African, and Australian continents are precluded due to concerns about force majeur coercions and culturally slanted perspectives. Antartica is also excluded due to concerns about negative environmental impacts.
Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, if negotiations take place I'll have to go where the Earthlings suggest.

The question is most interesting if we posit that our first contact rulebook says: choose a place to land and make first contact there, in person, without prior negotiation. Then the choice becomes a reflection of of the chooser's thinking.

Assuming that the point is to make contact with as many people as possible, you want to stay away from places like Minneapolis because the US is very touchy about who it lets across it's borders. You want a country that is politically neutral in current conflicts and is open to anyone who wants to come.

Zurich would be ideal. It's an international city in a politically stable country. Switzerland has been politically neutral since 1815, and is not too far from the global population center-of-weight.

The global population center-of-weight is actually in Kashmir, which is disputed. New Delhi is very close to the global population center-of-weight, and is a major international city that could host visitors from around the world, and is a capital city that already has embassies from most of the nations of the world. India is relatively stable and in terms of global politics is relatively non-aligned. Despite its long-running disputes with Pakistan, India still maintains official diplomatic relations with Islamabad. India maintains friendly relationships with most countries except Fiji and Pakistan; it even has full diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Vegas. It's very bright at night and is layered with outward manifestations of wealth. If all one had was a telescope view Vegas would probably look like a place for traders. (For this scenario they are unable to receive/understand earth transmissions.) Using the old 3 g's of exploration (Gold, God, and Glory) I'd do an alien who was a light worshipper as the decider. He see's a city that worships lights and is overjoyed. Then he gets there and is horrified by the debauchery. Then depending on the direction you want to go he can be sad, go on a rampage, learn things about life, or shield the planet for the protection of the rest of the universe.

What about the moon? The aliens land, send a signal to earth telling them to come. With proper motivation I think humans could rig up a new lander in about six months. Possibly a space race between the nations deciding who would get there first and secure trading/bragging rights.

Posts: 1895 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Our successful first-cut trader candidates realize from research Terrans are an aggressive, arrogant, contentious, and prolific species. They propose as neutral as possible a contact point in order to maximize trade potentials with as many sources as will participate. The single human contact point is a negotiation point. He or she must be as worldly as the species can present. Since continental states develop into empires, continents are best avoided. The Dutch East India Company learned this lesson the hard way, besides that hydraulic culture benefits advantaged trade through seaports. A spaceport culture equivalent? Land-based spaceport operations are nonessential.

Of course, Terran squabbles over trading rights are unavoidable: wars, brinksmanship relations, contentious alliances, political and espionage intrigues, ill-advised treaties, etc.

Assume radio signal broadcasts captured in deep space--television, cell phone, military and government, etc.--have been translated into their literal meanings but their figurative meanings have been underrealized.

The Moon is a possible spaceport location. Traders bring schematics for freight lighters that will transship cargoes. Terrans assemble these craft intent on discovering their secrets. This is one unintended piece of technology traded.

Earth cargoes can be forwarded direct to the ark from the planet or from anywhere in the solar sphere. There's a caveat. An undetectable fractyon carrier wave broadcast by the ark powers the lighters. At the end of the mission, the carrier wave is terminated. This is a major dramatic turn for the second book's post climax tragic crisis, falling action crisis, or denouement crisis. This is a misunderstanding, a misapprehension on the part of Terran assumptions. Engineers assume the energy source will be traded for, but negotiators overlook that bit out of an exuberant clamoring for indiscriminate more, more, more from Terran trade partners.

Note: Singapore lies near the equator. Space launches from equatorial regions are least problematic, most efficient, and least complicated due to straightforward orbital transfer maneuvers.

I'm still working on what sorts of obverse misunderstandings Terrans cause. Something that arrives in the final load could be a major boondoggle. Other minor boondoggles arrive earlier, but are worked out. Final loads, though, are irreversible. Maybe a computer worm resides in a literature data packet, or an unsanitized culture practice causes mayhem aboard the ark. Or the passengers start to feel unsettled with their living arrangements due to a particular narrative's (film maybe) meaning impact. But crew has seen these upsets before. I don't know yet.

[ December 13, 2013, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Smaug
Member
Member # 2807

 - posted      Profile for Smaug   Email Smaug         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
You have your creative visions; I have mine. They are far apart.
Come now, extrinsic, I was making a bit of fun at today's news. At least, if you were referring to my "climate change" post. Of course, beings from another world may be perfectly suited to a planet that has adverse conditions to human life, and they may need a place for an expanding population...one which is now perfected, for them.
Posts: 440 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Let me say this: So far only MattLeo and Pyre Dynasty have made the first cut, mostly from giving and demonstrating some insightful thought on point to the subject matter of the brainstorming exercise. Of course, aboard the ark, many passengers, maybe some crew persons, have submitted lackluster and spurious, distracting proposals. I guess they don't want to leave and have other intentions. I wonder what might happen if one similarly motivated candidate might unintentionally be chosen for the trade mission. Right up front, he or she would make every effort to refuse, spoil the ongoing mission, and attempt a return to the ark.

[ December 14, 2013, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Look at it this way---a really good answer might make a really good story, whichever way it goes, and we're all writers here---and many details have to be worked out.

Just what would aliens trade for? (Ever read "The Great Pat Boom" by Damon Knight?)

Posts: 8715 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"The Big Pat Boom," along with other Knight short stories in a much rereleased collection, I've read, about selling aliens expensive junk. A dark and twisted retake on the Manhattan Island purchase. "To Serve Man," another contact tableau, is in the same collection.
Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Regarding the launch favorability of Singapore:

It is doubtful that a civilization capable of launching trade missions across interstellar distances would care much about the differences in cost-to-orbit between the North Pole and the equator. However, if it *is* a problem for them, it raises an important issue in present-day space economics: cost per mass.

A thousand kilo nugget of pure 24Kt gold would be worth just short of forty million dollars at current gold market prices. Place that nugget in a known position on the surface of Mars and it will stay there for the rest of *our* lifetimes. A mission to retrieve that nugget would cost many times the commodity value of the gold in the nugget.

It's expensive to move mass into and out of gravity wells, or to alter its momentum from one orbit to another. That makes space travel to retrieve objects for their commodity value alone a losing proposition. That's why asteroid mining will remain a non-starter until space engines with much, much higher specific impulse become available.

The same consideration also applies to interstellar travel. Unless it is through some kind of wormhole mechanism, the cost of moving masses across interstellar distances and matching velocities would likely make commodity trading impractical.

For civilizations like ours, where cost per mass is a severe limiting factor, the one commodity that's worth traveling in space to obtain is information. Information has the highest possible value to mass ratio. We spent 2.5 billion USD on the Mrs Science Laboratory mission, and it was money well spent. That gold nugget would have to weigh ten thousand kilos before it justified spending that kind of money.

So one of the key things we need to know about our aliens is how much it costs them to move mass through space. If it is a big enough problem that they're worried about a landing site's latitude, then they'll be much more interested in goods like the sheet music to Bach's Goldberg Variations than they'd be in metal bearing ore. If mass is no object they might choose to locate near gold reserves, or coltan deposits. Gold, tantalum, and niobium are all physically useful elements that are relatively rare throughout the universe.

Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
They aren't concerned about cost to transship cargoes. They are concerned about guiding unmanned lighters through space. The majority of their metal needs are met by the one-way lighters' materials themselves. Of course, data trade is high on the list of priorites too. Precious metals are more abundant on asteroids harvestable from near Earth and the asteroid belts than on Earth. The ark traders respect, though, that those materials are of Terran provenance first and are traded for as such. Terran manufacturers make the asteroid harvesters, too, and enjoy that technology trade as well. Still, the caveat that they're powered by a fractyon carrier wave limits their use of the harvester technology after the ark departs near space.

[ December 14, 2013, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Under the conditions you lay out, I should think the aliens would not be interested in rare elements at all -- at least not obtaining them through trade. The reason is that not having to tanker an energy source or worry about mass, they could easily comb the asteroid belt rather than look for sources conveniently concentrated in planetary crusts.

Ironically, this other extreme would *also* tend to tip the nature of the trade towards information, although not necessarily pure information. Cultural artifacts and biological specimens would be of interest. These may not have much utility to the aliens, but assuming they have *some* interest, and that the alien economy works roughly like outs, they'd have value because of their rarity. Baseball cards have no utility, and the number of serious collectors as a fraction of the population is not very high; but a 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card is worth tens of thousands of dollars. That very same card might have some value to an alien collector of sports memorabilia.

Maybe aliens set up terrariums and aquariums; we could be selling them neon tetras and zebra danios.

There may be minerals that only form on planets that interest the aliens. Petroleum and gemstones, for example.

One storytelling reason I like this scenario is that for the initial period of trade, it'd be like a gold rush, a mad hunt through everyone's attic to find worthless bits of cultural detritus to trade for fabulously valuable alien stuff.

Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mineral resupply supplements could easily be taken from unihabitated solar systems, some from dust collected in the between of deep space. However, the ark passes by Earth's solar sphere for this part of the journey.

Ark folk and trader folk strongly respect that Terrans own all that is within the Terran solar sphere and trade for asteroid mining rights. The richness of cultural artifacts, tangible objects as well as intangibles like cultural rituals, say baseball, are a boon from visiting a developed culture. For entertaining passengers and crew.

Species imports won't survive steriization protocols. A documented genome sequence transported as data aboard a lighter in a memory drive though, yes. Genetic technology is a prized commodity for all parties.

Tritium is more abundant in near solar space locations than on planets and outer system deposits. Mercury and Earth's moon's regolith have comparatively concentrated amounts. Deuterium, contrarily, is most concentrated in the outer Oort Cloud's cometary bodies.

Petroleum is an undesired commodity. Ark crew make what petroleum products, like plastics and fertilzers, they need from base constituents and agriculture products. Gemstones, though, problematic to manufacture outside a planet's geologic processes, have cultural artifact, scientific, and manufacturing values.

quote:
MattLeo:
a mad hunt through everyone's attic to find worthless bits of cultural detritus to trade for fabulously valuable alien stuff.

And vice versa from several approaches. Imagine how much of ark artifacts become cultural detritus and vice versa. How much ark cultural detritus turns out to have long term and deep importance for Terrans and vice versa. The World War II Pacific Island cargo cults are examples of these aspects. U.S. allies got valuable intelligence from cargo cults' surveillance.

I'm still prospecting for tangible motifs I consider essential of a truly original yet accessible alien viewpoint. I have intangible ones galore. Like reproductive rituals, customs, and practices. Tangible ones could be as simple as the differences between British and U.S. motor vehicles operated on opposite sides of a road. Taboos could be either tangible or intangible, or both. Interfering with ark life support is unthinkable, for example.

The original mission of the ark was forgotten long before. Though it is engraved on a ship's plank in a public space, no one understands what it means. Something like Because it's there we may. Maybe a tangible motif might center around an irrational seeming unsatisfiable craving for unity.

[ December 15, 2013, 02:40 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm digging the Antiques Roadshow idea. You could have the weirdest things be considered of value. Limo made of diamonds: boring. Stapler: The most important discovery of all time. A massive collection of scribbles from toddlers: Randomly tossed on the ground reveals a detailed schematic of the ship.

If that was my plaque it would read: Because nothing interesting ever happens. And the ark is actually a bomb heading for the universal core to destroy everything. The real villain here is ennui. It is impossible to disarm this bomb, so the only way to save the universe is to try to prove the original posit wrong. This way the denizens of it are attempting to save the universe unwittingly by their search for entertainment. (Thereby justifying my entire lifestyle.)

Posts: 1895 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyre Dynasty:
I'm digging the Antiques Roadshow idea. You could have the weirdest things be considered of value. Limo made of diamonds: boring. Stapler: The most important discovery of all time.

I thought it was groovy. [Smile]

This reminds me of the Clifford Simak story, THE BIG FRONT YARD, in which a Yankee trader swaps some aliens the concept of paint in return for anti-gravity.

Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Because nothing interesting ever happens.
You do realize that now you've said that, a wacky alien woman is going to run you over with her Vespa, then smack you upside the head with a pull-cord motorized left-handed Rickenbacker bass guitar. Giant robots will then begin to periodically spring from your forehead.
Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Merlion-Emrys:
quote:
Because nothing interesting ever happens.
You do realize that now you've said that, a wacky alien woman is going to run you over with her Vespa, then smack you upside the head with a pull-cord motorized left-handed Rickenbacker bass guitar. Giant robots will then begin to periodically spring from your forehead.
At which point he says, "Not again!"
Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm encouraged you-all find these revealed premises entertaining. Even the silly brainstorming responses have been insightful, though apparently unintentionally.

I'd thought the protagonist and deuteragonist should eagerly want to go on the mission. That's one dimensional. More dimensions come from conflicted central characters. Their personal conflicts add depth to their dramatic complications, which I've kept close to the vest so far. So the central characters are reluctant and eager, bothered and inspired, and stubborn and acquiescent, etc.

The Antiques Roadshow analogy is keen insight. So is Storage Wars, implied by several serious or silly responses and inferred by me, a strong analogy. Thanks. Still a few "natural objects," which can be events, characters, and settings, to develop, but from the eager responses I'd say audience appeal could be noteworthy.

And though the whole should generate a single overall effect in readers, dark humor, silly humor, edginess, sober seriousness, and tragedy will run through the whole. A key kernel I've developed from this brainstorming session, that fits the whole, is sort of the truism One person's treasure is another person's castoffs. The central characters realize they are castoffs yet treasured by Terrans, up to a point. The third book of the novel, this will reinforce that meaning.

I'm thinking a stable ironic narrative voice with a bit of wry wit is called for, like that of lampoon. So, yeah, I've got a basic inventory of structure, aesthetics, voices, and audience appeals in hand. Preliminary planning is done for now. Time to buck in and get it written.

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reziac
Member
Member # 9345

 - posted      Profile for Reziac   Email Reziac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It wasn't evident in the OP that you were brainstorming for a writing project with a set goal; it appeared to be soliciting general opinions on what-ifs. I have to say... that irked me. I don't think it was honest.
Posts: 742 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I intended no deceptions. I asked a straightfoward question that some responses addressed on point. Some that did otherwise. Regardless, I thought it was understood, directly stated, if not clearly and strongly implied, since this is a writing discussion thread, that arrival nomination responses were asked for for use in developing an inspiration. From the first post, "Deciding who will go depends on the candidates proposing logical and practical parameters for where the arrival should take place." "Where would you suggest arrival is best for the sake of the mission's success?" I see no deceptions therein. Certainly by my fourth post, that this was a brainstorming exercise for developing an inspiration was unequivocally expressed.

I see no reason for misunderstanding nor any dishonesty whatsoever from the outset nor after.

[ December 19, 2013, 02:34 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Reziac:
It wasn't evident in the OP that you were brainstorming for a writing project with a set goal; it appeared to be soliciting general opinions on what-ifs. I have to say... that irked me. I don't think it was honest.

Gee, I don't see any purpose in posing such a question in this particular board, except to help generate/focus ideas for a story. Otherwise it'd go in "Grist for the Mill", possibly in the "Random Musings" immortal thread.

I think that using this forum as a sounding board for ideas is an *underutilized* possibility here. Surely that's as productive use of time as yet another philosophical discussion. After all, raw ideas aren't so rare or valuable that we need to be stingy with them. It's how we work them that makes or breaks a story.

I never worry about giving ideas away. I made them up out of thin air, and I can always make more.

Posts: 1459 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I assumed extrinsic was working out story ideas from the first post. (I followed the thread but didn't post anything because I didn't really have any worthy input). I see no dishonesty here. In fact, I find the accusation silly. Let's just enjoy our shared interest and goals and not ruin it by getting pointlessly mad where there is no offense.
Posts: 1528 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Words like "dishonest" and "silly" with respect to topics and posts are not very productive and can even be inflammatory.

Please, let's give each other the benefit of the doubt?

Posts: 8522 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wetwilly
Member
Member # 1818

 - posted      Profile for wetwilly   Email wetwilly         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry, Kathleen.
Posts: 1528 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I should have used a different term than "silly" for the whimsical responses.
Posts: 5097 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Whimsical" is a much better word, I think.
Posts: 8522 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2