Homeworld: Fallback Crisis - harder science fiction

The forum software mangles my formatting, so I’m just going to post a link:

Stay tuned for updates to the Google Doc, feel free to discuss here.

There will also be a Revised Historical and Technical Briefing, providing an appendix with information that all of the characters already know. I’m still working on it, and I’ll post a first draft shortly.

‘Hard science fiction’ in Homeworld.

Nice idea but ultimately pointless. Homeworld’s universe is best compared to those like Star Wars. It’s not truly science-fiction in a pure sense, but more like science-fantasy such as Star Wars or Doctor Who. It relies upon a certain vagueness and general ‘whatever makes for a cool story’. Whether it be a psychic emperor or magic hyperspace.

It’s further towards the hard end of the scale, but not truly hard science fiction. Hyperspace is still a thing, and still plenty magical. Antimatter and even fusion power systems can provide really amazing amounts of energy, and direct control of gravity is just as magical as hyperspace, with a lot of implications the games don’t explore.

This is still absolutely a ‘science fantasy’ sort of story, but if you know some relativity and orbital mechanics, you’ll get more out of it. Ships don’t move the way they do in the games, that’s just unavoidable, but the shift to more realistic physics opens up all kinds of possibilities, especially if Applied Gravimetrics can make physics do things.

In Fallback Crisis, most of the civilizations in the galaxy can and often do throw things and people around their star systems at substantial fractions of lightspeed, and that’s just the beginning. When a fleet without a far jumper approaches a star, it has to stop to recharge every few light-hours, and any kind of competent defense system would spot them from light-days away. The artillery batteries around major planets are very much capable of throwing torpedoes at 15% of C, so approaching fleets have to deal with the defenders taking potshots at them with antimatter bombs.

It’s not easy for humans to understand the amounts of energy involved here, but the Tsar Bomb, the most powerful machine of any kind ever constructed by humans, is pretty small by the standards of space warfare. Hypervelocity projectiles are even stranger to a human frame of reference. If you double the velocity of something, you quadruble its kinetic energy.

When a defense battery hits a ship with a depleted uranium telephone pole moving at 3000 kilometers per second, it delivers 1,000,000 times as much energy as a regular mass driver that throws slugs at a ‘mere’ 3 kps. With the shots moving so fast, artillery can matter even if it’s as far away as the moon.

Far jumpers like Bentus and the Mothership can skip over the long-range battles, which is just one of the many advantages they possess. Even with more realistic physics, Homeworld would still be a story very much in the same vein as Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Kinights of Sidonia, and many others, and Fallback Crisis reflects that.

I am well aware of speculative technology such as antimatter reactors and artificial gravity (not that there is any way to actually manipulate gravity that we know of yet).

My comment was just what it was. I don’t see there being much point in even attempting something like this. Homeworld really is not the kind of setting that lends itself to hard science-fiction. Not that things like artificial gravity ARE hard science fiction anyway, they are more soft science-fiction.

The problem is that you are basically writing a lot of fan canon just to introduce more ‘realistic’ technologies. Homeworld deliberately kept any explanations of what they were doing light. Such as how their ion cannons work, or how they can create massive gravity fields, to say nothing of psychic powers and prophecies. I really don’t see this as being a Homeworld universe, so much as just your own personal worldbuilding.

Nothing wrong with making your own stuff. I just think if you’re being that inventive why not make it your own, instead of trying to tack it on to an existing fiction? Seems like a waste of your energy to me, since you’re taking it far from any canon.

I was mostly using your comment as an opportunity to explain more about the new factors I’m introducing. A lot of them practically are fantasy elements from the perspective of everyday people today. I’m adding a lot to the setting, it’s true, and it ends up in a different place on the hardness scale. Homeworld is at 1 or 2, and Fallback Crisis is solidly in the 3 category. This is a very different kind of story, and you’re right to be skeptical.

The ‘why fanfiction?’ question is also worth addressing, and here’s my answer: It’s mostly because I’m lazy. I’ve also written fully original hard science fiction, and I have a race of nomadic traders just like the Bentusi. I could write a story in that setting, and do some exposition to set up who they are and what they do, or I can just mention the Bentusi and know that people will understand what I mean.

There are dozens of things like that in the Homeworld backstory, which makes my job as a writer much easier. When I mention Tanis, people who have played Homeworld2 think, oh, that’s why the mothership was built there in secret, while people who haven’t played the games, or have only played the first game, don’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

Fanfiction is just easier than regular fiction. That’s why there’s so much of it.

Have you read any of Jack Cambell’s lost fleet book’s ?

Whilst the back and forth between the characters can be a little clichéd the large fleet battles that make up the backbone of the series cover a lot of the same ground your discussing. He’s got a good grasp of how fleets fighting each other at fractions of C would play out. battles taking half a days worth of manoeuvring and a fraction of a fraction of a second of actual combat with each pass.

Definitely worth a read if you haven’t already.

I’d heard of John G. Hemry, but I didn’t know about his Jack Campbell pseudonym and I’ve never read his Lost Fleet books. I’ll have to borrow them from my local library.

While we’re doing book recommendations, Scott Westerfeld’s Risen Empire books and Hiroyuki Morioka’s Crest of the Stars are great novels in the same general category of science fiction.

I haven’t read everything but I will this weekend.

Thanks for the kind words in the end of your document about the Military badges.
I’m studying another set for Tobari and their origins, have a look.
The only things that are misplaced are the badges themselves, 'cuz I ain’t no artist.

If you need the fonts, colors and cover to use in your document, let me know.
I’m used to make HTB-like documents. Take a look at this one

I skimmed through a few parts of it tonight. Since I’m tired from working on my own fanfiction and since it’s already well into the AMs for me, I’m going to go to sleep, but I want to read this all the way through in the morning.

I really liked the technical approach you took to the battle scene. I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen anything like it, so +points to you for originality.

Suggest using Fanfiction.net, since there’s a ‘paste from word’ option that essentially lets you paste all your formatting from whatever processor you’re using. I use Pages and it still works, so Google Docs should be fine. I will also link this thread in the collection.