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Based on what you've read below, what do you think? Is this an engaging plot proposal?
Yeah 56%  56%  [ 5 ]
Nah, sounds run-of-the-mill and boring. 33%  33%  [ 3 ]
Well, it depends... (post opinion) 11%  11%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 9
 
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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:04 pm 
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I have had an idea for a sci-fi story in the makings for somewhere close to three years now and the idea has evolved to the point that I believe it can be called a fanfiction. In essence, it's something of a retelling, something of an analog to the Universal Century taking place in the Common Era (CE, but not "Cosmic Era"), that is to say, our era (AD is the older form). The story starts in the year 2100 Common Era and contains many of the characters and events so beloved by fans of the Universal Century, but in different contexts and situations. What I have attempted to do was right a story that, though in the "far off future", is a direct result of the events of today. In this way, the numerous wars in Africa, in the increasingly federalized European Union, the existence of the United Nations, the rise of the United States of America as the sole superpower following the Cold War, the energy crisis of the present day, and the rise of the People's Republic of China will all be detailed as important to the story. This is especially true as it will detail how these events eventually force the mass emigration of embittered populations into space, wanting to move further and further away from Earth, striving for independence.

To give some background, the world's elements rely most heavily on a fictional Third World War (which is from another story I have already completed) which has formed the world in which the main characters exist. In the power-vacuum following this World War III, the United Nations finds itself as the sole body capable of reconstruction following the world, backed by a newly federalized European Union and the remaining superpower, China (the USA's fate is a little more complicated). Following this war, embittered peoples on the losing end of the war begin to push for emigration into space and eventually, over the course of roughly seventy years (the war ended in 2035), the descendants of these peoples find themselves to the recently terraformed moons of Jupiter. Eventually their want for independence, which is a combination of a number of factors detailed in the story, lead them to war with the USA.

This is where the UC element comes into play. You'll note many names are used which are similar, if not exact duplicates of those in Gundam, but in different contexts, if not at all like their Gundam analogs.
The Zanscar Union, named after its "founder" Junius Zanscar, is the name of the Outer Planets aligned against the federalized United Nations. The story revolves around a few main characters:
    1. Kamille Jansen: an analog to Kamille Bidan in name alone (so far), he is a university student conscripted to fight in the war on Saturn's moon, Titan, for control of the helium-3 refineries so prized by both sides; unlike UC Kamille, this Kamille is a grunt before he becomes anything else.
    2. Julia (no last name developed yet): Kamille's long-time girlfriend who is a nurse for the Civil Service working at a UN military hospital in Portsmouth VA, USA, who was not picked up for the first wave of drafts but eventually is as the war becomes more desperate.
    3. Noah Zahn: an analog to Bright Noa, he serves as the chief administrator of a neutral mining colony (8-Gitano) in the asteroid belt, but is eventually drawn into the war without wanting to be.
    4. Landon Ray: an analog of sorts to Amuro (though also a great-grandnephew of the main character from a previous story), the seventeen-year-old son of an engineer at the 8-Gitano mining colony who, like the rest of 8-Gitano, gets drawn into the war without want.
    5. Landon's unnamed girlfriend: she serves as an analog to Frau Bo in relation to Landon, but also as a sort of Lalah in her later revealed abilities as a pilot.
    6. two as-yet-unnamed main villains: an analog to the Zabi family in general who is leading the Zanscar Union and the other is an analog to Char in being the story's chief rival.
Mind you, that is the main cast. There are also numerous characters analogous, if not rough copies (or re-imaginings) of Bright Noa (a young officer aboard a carrier), Mirai Yashima (another young officer aboard the same carrer), Darcia Bakharov (Zanscar ambassador and spokeperson to the United Nations), Geoffrey (analogous to Hayato), a soldier named Pataki (analogous to Kai Shiden), a general named Revil, admirals named Tianem and Cowen, and more.

The mobile suit factor is also complicated by the fact that they were made illegal in the treaty which ended World War III (as they were instrumental in the conquest of Europe), so that is explored when mobile suits are being developed in secret, a secret eventually revealed (analogous to a plot device in 0083). I also attempt to rationalize the use and manufacture of mobile suits as realistic as possible, following the Tomino line of reasoning, but applying as many present-day facts as possible. This also includes a, albeit brief discussion concerning the names "Gundam" and "Guncannon" for certain mobile suits in the story, as well as a SEED-like approach to names like "Zaku", "Gouf", and "Gelgoog".

Events and ideas that exist, but in different forms include:
    -Operation British
    -battle of Loum
    -Spacenoids/Earthnoids and the racist/bigot issues surrounding those and other names
    -displeasure with Earth's politics and attempt to control everything
    -the question of gaining independence by any means
    -etc


None of what I have written comes even close to exhausting the matter and analogs, but I believe is enough. I am more than happy to answer question concerning any details listed above, or even random questions. The point is: I would like feedback. I'd like to gauge the level of interest, if any, to this idea and what sort of ideas others have concerning it. Also, please read two subsequent posts I've made in this thread as they clear up some confusion concerning the plot. Thanks.


Thanks to Wingnut, and the FanFic moderators for letting me post this.

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SOCL

"You can be a Captain or a nobody--when your luck runs out, you die. That's how war is." -Bernie, 0080


Last edited by SOCL on Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:27 pm 
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It sounds like this fanfiction has the potentials that SEED originally had but could possiby fall for the same pitfalls.

Try to avoid some of the silliness of SEED such as the deux-ex-machinas and almost-super-robot MS which were only put in as vain attempts to push the story forward via the mecha moreso than via the characters.

I find it kinda hard to conceptualise people emigrating all the way to Jupiter and then making the extremely long treks back to Earth just to battle for independence. Unless the USA has developed into an engrossing interplanetary Empire, then why don't the Jupiter colonists simply stop communications with Earth or dedicate their energies to moving out of the solar system?
While interesting to put Jupiter into the Gundam mix, don't fall into the trap of having the storyline follow the Gundam formula of "space for introduction battles --> Earth for character-developing battles --> space for final battle". Not saying it can't be done nicely but it's been done ad nauseum.

Not too keen on the "Zaku", "Gouf" and "Gelgoog" concepts unless you'll be doing it differently from GS Destiny. If you'll use them, I'd suggest simply use the original ones and not bastardised versions. Also, since all Gundam shows have some derivative of these famous MS, you could also dodge the bullet entirely and make up new names.

Everything else sounds good to me. The story has a lot of potential but be careful to not do the same thing Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny did....which was totally and completely waste all their storyline potential.

Remember....Gundam is really all about the characters. The use of mobile suits is just an attractive gimmick.


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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:49 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback jam!

No worries, I really hate super robots with a passion, and I mean a deep-rooted hatred. In fact, the mobile suits don't emerge until nearly halfway through the story, and then are, like in my previous stories, background to how a certain group can achieve certain aims, but only mentioned. In fact, in this story there will only be three main characters who are pilots, and the majority of those characters' plot time is spent doing other things. In truth, the mobile suits are revealed by both sides in an attempt to gain just enough upper-hand (i.e. a tactical use of them) in the gridlock they're both caught in to succeed, which ends up just driving the war into a bigger catastrophe, essentially just adding mobile suit to the mix does nothing to actually help either side. A major theme in the story will be the human element, and in so presenting I attempt to show how even the "silver bullet" both sides have been waiting on fails them.

As for it becoming like SEED: I have, in truth, never actually watched the series. All I know about it was the fact they, as you put it, "bastardized" the mobile suits from First Gundam. My intention is not take that angle, rather, many of the same suits will appear along side many original ones, but once more the purpose of mobile suits in the story is not the reason for the story itself. In fact, the existence of mobile suits and names of the characters is likely the only reason to call this a fanfic as the idea for the plot came to me before I had come to even watch any of the Gundam series.
And there is no Earth arc in the story. There is a Titan (moon of Saturn) arc, but that is really just where one of the characters is located at the start of the story, as well the center-point of problems within the United Nations. The rest of the story takes place in space between Mars and Jupiter.

The distance between Mars and Jupiter may be one of those things that catches in people's throats, but there are a few ways I got around this. It has a lot to do with the special properties of helium-3 and fission power sources in creating virtually unlimited energy. In the end, though, since the story is being told from a third-person-limited perspective, the character's own knowledge of the technology is what you rely on, so when a character tries to explain something, well, he tried, but he or she will admit when he or she doesn't have a clue. Also, travel times between Mars and Jupiter are enormous for the older vessels with the newer ships being designed for the Space Forces specifically modeled for the sake of long-distance space travel across the Solar System. This will actually be situation when the forces on Titan require extraction, yet are so far from Mars (Mars being controlled by the UN).

The USA has actually been, um...reduced, shall we say, after casting its lot on the (eventual) losing side of the Third World War. Even so, it's the embittered American population (embittered at being occupied) which expatriate themselves into space and push for space colonization and more distance from Earth and UN's influence. The war itself is started after years of negotiations for autonomy, followed by a failed rebellion in 2081 (Zanscar Rebellion), followed by industrialization and a declaration of war. The development of the war is alluded to and has many parallels to the Second World War, the Second Punic War, and the War of Spanish Succession.

Also, the greatest influence in regard to Gundam on my life has been the Tomino novels for Mobile Suit Gundam versus the actual series. This is where I got the idea for reworking characters and events into different contexts.

Oh, and Newtypes are presented in the story, too, but this is also played down as something more to do with friendship and the ties that bind us all as humans.

Suddenly I have an aching feeling in my stomach and a dreading this was a bad idea... Maybe I'll just go back to the original form of the story without all the Gundam-styled things...

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"You can be a Captain or a nobody--when your luck runs out, you die. That's how war is." -Bernie, 0080


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:13 am 
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HE IS NOT A CHAR!
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My two main suggestions are:

1. Drop the use of names from UC, both mecha and character names. What I would do instead would be to use ANAGRAMS of the original names. Directly lifting a name feels like simple copying, but the creative use of anagrams can create a nice homage-y feel. The only exception, of course, would be the name "Gundam," which has a well established precedent for crossing the lines of alternate universes.

2. Use colonies instead of terraformed moons, or at least use underground/domed cities with self-contained atmospheres on the moons rather than moons which have been terraformed into little miniature Earths. The difficulties of terraforming are myriad, and space colonies are actually much more feasible. This is especially true if what you're trying to terraform are the moons of Jupiter, which are far from the Sun, exposed to deadly radiation belts, and possibly too small for their gravity to even hold an atmosphere. If you would like to have some sort of terraforming project involved in the story, you might have an attempt to terraform Mars entering the early stages of implementation as the story begins, but have it come under fire from ecoterrorists protesting that terraforming is unethical. This way you get to deal with some of the scientific and moral issues surrounding the topic of terraforming without ever actually having to say "yes, it's feasible" or "no, it won't work." I'd feature traditional O'Neillian Type-3 colonies s at Earth's Lagrange points, domed cities on the Moon and Mars, and small, ring-style colonies surrounding Jupiter. The living conditions of the colonies would decrease in quality as the distance from Earth increased.

Other than the terraformed moons of Jupiter, I like this idea. It reminds me of an RPG concept I pitched a while back in which the European Union, after unifying into a single government and surviving a few wars, ended up as the only remaining superpower, and eventually convinced what was left of the battered UN, along with most of the rest of the world, to unify their governments, along with that of the EU, into a single government called the UE, or United Earth. The areas which would not consent to UE rule were declared Quarantine Zones, and it was declared illegal for any UE citizen to enter the QZs. Eventually the UE constructed space colonies, and then, inevitably, the colonies rebelled, forming the Confederation of Earth Sphere Settlements, or CESS. CESS immediately pulled a Zeon and destroyed the UE space fleet before launching an invasion of Earth (landing in the QZs and allying themselves with the enemies of the UE already present on Earth), and that's where my RPG began, focusing on the first unit of mechs deployed in an attempt to counterattack and drive CESS from the Earth.

It was actually much more complicated than that, involving a secret society called the Tsiolkovsky Foundation dedicated to forcing all of humanity into space, Char style, and a bunch of other stuff, but that isn't important here.

Anyway, I'm wordy and have a tendency to assume that my ideas are interesting to others, so this post has become much longer than it should have been. Suffice it to say I like the idea of the story, but I don't like the names and I don't like the terraforming.

EDIT: Oh my! You posted while I was writing this and said that the structure of the war is, in part, inspired by the Second Punic War. Now I really want to read this fanfic! I have studied the Punic Wars rather extensively, and I'm convinced Hannibal could have and should have won the war. If he had marched directly to the city of Rome itself after his overwhelming victory at Cannae, he could have more or less ended the war right there. It was his dithering around in southern Italy, trying to gain the allegiance of everybody who was halfway miffed at the Roman government before going for the jugular that killed his chances. His army was large enough and had high enough morale and the Romans were disorganized enough immediately after Cannae that the campaign could have been effectively wrapped up in short order. When you consider all of the influence of Rome on modern culture, imagining a world in which Rome fell to Hannibal is a fun exercise in speculation, though our limited knowledge of the Carthagineans inhibits a clear picture of a world in which they became the major Mediterranean superpower.

EDIT 2: What appeals to me about the 2nd Punic War is that Carthage was basically the ultimate underdog. On the sheer charisma and brilliance of one of history's greatest generals, they fought the odds, matching skill and leadership ability against the sheer brute force of Rome, and almost won. The war bears a lot of resembleance to the American Civil War, if you replace Carthage with the Confederacy, Rome with the Union, and Hannibal with General Lee (Grant being his Scipio Africanus).

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Nadesico: Akito x Ryoko
G Gundam: Domon x Allenby
SEED: Athrun x Lacus, Kira x Fllay
Macross Frontier: Alto x Ranka, Mikhail x Klan


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:37 am 
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Thanks for the feedback Ascension!
No worries about wordiness: I have been told I am long-winded and wordy to the point of being deadly boring. :lol:

I think the chief mistake I made in pitching this idea was starting out by saying this is a sort of retelling of First Gundam. In truth, it's not, and I suppose I stated that as it, in its present form, utilizes many (likely too many) characters and events from Gundam.
In truth, the story is 100% original in its own right and only in time did it begin to evolve to contain many Gundam themes. For the longest time, in fact, Kamille's name was the only bit of Gundam included in the whole story. I only added that name in because I got tired of telling the story from a "he" point-of-view for a character who had no name. As for Landon being based on Amuro, that's only because he is an eventual Newtype--that's really it. Characterization, even for characters with identical names with UC fellows, is completely different from that in UC. Kamille is nothing like Kamille Bidan, Landon is far more interested in politics than Amuro would ever be, the young officer ("Bright-analog") aboard the bridge of the carrier is quiet and a follow-orders person with not much backbone, and so forth.
My mistake was thinking that if I emphasized all the parallels between UC and my story, it would interest the readership. In truth, I shouldn't have done that as it started making me feel cheap and uncreative.

In this way, I like Ascension's idea. Even so, the character Kamille, in my opinion, needs to remain named such as he has been like since every draft, except for the first, and there he didn't have a name.

Ascension wrote:
2. Use colonies instead of terraformed moons, or at least use underground/domed cities with self-contained atmospheres on the moons rather than moons which have been terraformed into little miniature Earths. The difficulties of terraforming are myriad, and space colonies are actually much more feasible. This is especially true if what you're trying to terraform are the moons of Jupiter, which are far from the Sun, exposed to deadly radiation belts, and possibly too small for their gravity to even hold an atmosphere. If you would like to have some sort of terraforming project involved in the story, you might have an attempt to terraform Mars entering the early stages of implementation as the story begins, but have it come under fire from ecoterrorists protesting that terraforming is unethical. This way you get to deal with some of the scientific and moral issues surrounding the topic of terraforming without ever actually having to say "yes, it's feasible" or "no, it won't work." I'd feature traditional O'Neillian Type-3 colonies s at Earth's Lagrange points, domed cities on the Moon and Mars, and small, ring-style colonies surrounding Jupiter. The living conditions of the colonies would decrease in quality as the distance from Earth increased.
Well, the story actually contains a diverse society where people are divided into three broad categories:
    -Earthnoids (people from Earth)
    -Marsnoids (politically correct term for people from Mars, though bigots from Earth usually call them "Martians")
    -Colonists (people from any of the number of colonies in the LaGrange points in the Earth Sphere, Mars Sphere, Jupiter Sphere, and the numerous mining colonies in the asteroid belt--this is the largest group, but the one least represented in government, which becomes another plot device)
    -Europans, Callistoans, & Ganymedians (the three types of people from the three inhabited moons of Jupiter: Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede; bigots from all sides just call them "Jovians")
Also, the term "Separatist" and "Separatist Rebellion" as the UN does not acknowledge the Zanscar Union as anything official, hence a reason for the war.
Space colonies also play a larger role as the story comes to close as the, by-then, older O'Neill Island Three colonies are beginning to be replaced by larger models dubbed "Island Four". These house twice as many people as Islands Three for proportionally less in cost. It comes to underline the important role Colonists will come to play in the story...

I can understand not wanting to have terraformed moons of Jupiter, but there's a very specific reason I chose this, and that's that I loved the look and feel of Ganymede and Callisto in Cowboy Bebop and was inspired by that. That said, the story in no way tries to make terraforming seem easy or perfected at all as there are constant problems mentioned concerning epidemics and such from the unfrozen ice in various places. Also, Io and Titan turn out to be the two failures and final tries at terraforming, both being turned into desert wastelands: Io has a lot of volcanic activity which destroys what remains, Titan is constantly plagued by diffused methane vapor in the upper atmosphere. This is something the character Kamille comments on during his time on Titan as a conscript.

Ascension wrote:
1. Drop the use of names from UC, both mecha and character names. What I would do instead would be to use ANAGRAMS of the original names. Directly lifting a name feels like simple copying, but the creative use of anagrams can create a nice homage-y feel. The only exception, of course, would be the name "Gundam," which has a well established precedent for crossing the lines of alternate universes.
As mentioned before, I think I'll go back to the original names, which were mostly just homages to the characters from Gundam. In the end, I just liked the names so used them, but the characters really aren't the same--not even close, in some cases. There are certain things I will keep, such as Kamille for the stated reason, Gundam for the stated reason, and being "GUNCannon" (not the capitalized GUN), but not much else.

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Ascension. You made me realize how stupid it had been of me to pitch the idea as Gundam-based rather than Gundam-inspired. :)

Oh, and your RPG, Ascension, sounds awesome! I'm quite intrigued.

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SOCL

"You can be a Captain or a nobody--when your luck runs out, you die. That's how war is." -Bernie, 0080


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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:16 am 
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Usually, I like retelling's of UC and the like, since they offer potential at doing things that could have been explored in the TV shows but weren't for varying reasons. Hell, I like the professed changes to the main characters from their UC counterparts (especially the Landon/??? relationship, I was always a big Amuro/Fraw fan). However, the way you're writing it out terms of development and detail, as well as reading through some of your other posts on the board (I can only imagine how long a full chapter would be for such a project), I think you're better off making it into an original Gundam fanfic rather than try to recreate the UC universe in our modern timeline. The whole idea strikes me as something the Sci-Fi Channel would do if they wanted to take the original series and make a live-action American version of it, much like the Evangelion and Star Blazers movies floating around. That being said, even if it's based on UC, it won't be quite the same thing, so using same MS and characters (and contrary to what half this board claims, SEED went its own direction so it's not so much a UC ripoff) would be kind of awkward.

As well, I know you're a military history otaku, which I am as well, and that basing a story on events of the past is a fun thing to do, but don't go to the extreme about it. Excessive details and paralells to past events tends to make the story more like a history lesson and less like a drama, which takes away from the entertainment value. Trust me, I know one other guy that does that kind of work, and his story is a headache to read. Besides that, I don't understand why you're basing it off the Second Punic War; yes that War is a hallmark in military history, but it seems difficult to apply that to a storyline. I'm sure you have a plan in mind though, or at least I hope you do.

Summary: don't focus on the background as much as the character drama unless your last name is Turtledove, or you'll just induce headaches into your readers.

On a side note for Ascension's post, I wouldn't replace Carthage with the CSA for the fact that at least Carthage was one body of government. Whereas the CSA was multiple bodies (states) with their own governments and their own policies, all of which were looking out for themselves rather than the Confederacy as a whole. Even with Lee and other West Point graduates on their side, and even if the war was win, I think the CSA would have lost everything in the long run, which I'm not sure if I could say the same for Carthage. But this isn't a history debate thread, so I'll leave it at that.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:40 am 
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I hadn't realized Ascension's edit to his post. What might explain my history background is the fact that I am majoring in Ancient History and my specialty is, literally, the Second Punic War (less specifically, Roman history in general). That being said, it'd be best if we didn't go on tangents.

Thanks for the feedback, wing zero alpha!
Funny you should mention Turtledove: he's one of my favourite authors! :lol:

My problem in proposing this story here has been how to propose it. I think wing zero alpha has also touched on the fact that I can't help giving loads of background given the fact I specialize in that in everyday work as a historian. In any event, I assure you that the details of background material in all of my stories are rather background-ish in nature... That didn't make sense. The history to the story is background-ish nature in that it plays a minor role when, and only when characters decide to talk about it. This is rare as it takes a very strange or interesting circumstance to get Soldiers and other engaged in combat to suddenly start talking about a history they're all quite aware of. It would be the same thing as if I walked in and said, "President Bush was reelected in 2004." Everyone stares and someone will invariably say, "Yeah...we know. And...?" In that sense, most characters hardly talk about history and, thus, most of the history posted here in this thread is for the sake of the reader (that is, future reader) and not so much material that will be explicitly or otherwise covered in the story.

alpha wing zero wrote:
As well, I know you're a military history otaku, which I am as well, and that basing a story on events of the past is a fun thing to do, but don't go to the extreme about it. Excessive details and paralells to past events tends to make the story more like a history lesson and less like a drama, which takes away from the entertainment value. Trust me, I know one other guy that does that kind of work, and his story is a headache to read. Besides that, I don't understand why you're basing it off the Second Punic War; yes that War is a hallmark in military history, but it seems difficult to apply that to a storyline. I'm sure you have a plan in mind though, or at least I hope you do.
I think I'm pretty good about keeping out the history teacher that lives within myself as readers to my other stories usually ask me for more history info. In any event, one thing that is common, though, is what you mentioned about a story written by a historian tends to be long and arduous. This is something I suffer from, but only because I'll divide a 400-page story into four chapters. :oops: I'll be sure not to do that in this one.
As for the Second Punic War bit and the other mentioned wars, that mostly has to do with my end of the writing. In essence, I establish context so it makes sense to me, then I write around those events rather than about them. In this way only the most history-savvy or careful readers will pick up on the allusions, as they remain quite subtle (or I try to make them so). Basically, it has to do with the progression of the war in general where I get my ideas from history, that way the characters have somewhere they have to go based on the decision of military decision-makers, versus going aimlessly, carelessly, and senselessly from battle to battle which make no apparent sense or have any common connection. Again, the reader won't be savvy to the tactics and strategy of the military planners except for passing allusions (rather how the only tactical understanding we had from First Gundam was Matilda's messages about Operation Odessa and Bright being informed that White Base would be the 13th Autonomous Corps to act as a decoy), the time is spent following the characters from place to place. Indeed, many of the characters won't even grasp why they're going to fight a battle in a specific place because they have no need to understand it.

alpha wing zero wrote:
Usually, I like retelling's of UC and the like, since they offer potential at doing things that could have been explored in the TV shows but weren't for varying reasons. Hell, I like the professed changes to the main characters from their UC counterparts (especially the Landon/??? relationship, I was always a big Amuro/Fraw fan). However, the way you're writing it out terms of development and detail, as well as reading through some of your other posts on the board (I can only imagine how long a full chapter would be for such a project), I think you're better off making it into an original Gundam fanfic rather than try to recreate the UC universe in our modern timeline.
I certainly don't want to be categorized among the ranks of G-Saviour! :shock: Truthfully, though, this is only a retelling of the UC in that I was inspired by Gundam for a few things and that it has mobile suits. In fact, there wasn't originally going to be any mobile suits called Gundam in the story, but that, I fear, would seal my fate at Saviour status!

Incidentally, I went looking for my first draft of this story (circa 2001/2002) and found that Landon's female friend's name is Chelsea.
Also, the character surnamed Zahn's first name is actually "Beowulf", expressing a British-ancestry (despite being native of Mars administrating a mining colony).
Those were my mistakes in not going back and looking for the original drafts.


Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! So far it sounds like thoughts are mixed, evidenced by the encouraging posts, but the relatively negative poll votes. Even so, I am slowly gaining encouragement to actually post it here on the forums, or at least the first part or so. Please, keep the feedback coming, and I especially appreciate the tips on the "dos and don'ts"! :D

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:10 am 
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Quote:
I hadn't realized Ascension's edit to his post. What might explain my history background is the fact that I am majoring in Ancient History and my specialty is, literally, the Second Punic War (less specifically, Roman history in general). That being said, it'd be best if we didn't go on tangents.


Sort of ironic from the Roman Legion website and your major that your specialty is the one war that chaffed at Rome even when they were conquering the known world.

SOCL wrote:
Funny you should mention Turtledove: he's one of my favourite authors! :lol:


Figures. :roll:

Quote:
I think wing zero alpha has also touched on the fact that I can't help giving loads of background given the fact I specialize in that in everyday work as a historian. In any event, I assure you that the details of background material in all of my stories are rather background-ish in nature... That didn't make sense. The history to the story is background-ish nature in that it plays a minor role when, and only when characters decide to talk about it. This is rare as it takes a very strange or interesting circumstance to get Soldiers and other engaged in combat to suddenly start talking about a history they're all quite aware of. It would be the same thing as if I walked in and said, "President Bush was reelected in 2004." Everyone stares and someone will invariably say, "Yeah...we know. And...?" In that sense, most characters hardly talk about history and, thus, most of the history posted here in this thread is for the sake of the reader (that is, future reader) and not so much material that will be explicitly or otherwise covered in the story.


Trust me, I know your pain. I often go overboard with the details as well with my own work, and when I start writing work to be published I know it's going to bite me in the ass. But yeah, you seem to be covered on the historical end. My suggestion on conversation would be to have characters talk about different things like movies, media, video games, music, etc. Basically stuff that normal people talk about, while throwing in some historical referencing off and on. See below for an example of this practice.

alpha wing zero wrote:
I think I'm pretty good about keeping out the history teacher that lives within myself as readers to my other stories usually ask me for more history info. In any event, one thing that is common, though, is what you mentioned about a story written by a historian tends to be long and arduous. This is something I suffer from, but only because I'll divide a 400-page story into four chapters. :oops: I'll be sure not to do that in this one.


As I said above, I suffer from the same problem, but it's more or less Tom Clancy syndrome where I may take three pages to describe a soda can rather than historical events (but I get on those too).

Quote:
As for the Second Punic War bit and the other mentioned wars, that mostly has to do with my end of the writing. In essence, I establish context so it makes sense to me, then I write around those events rather than about them. In this way only the most history-savvy or careful readers will pick up on the allusions, as they remain quite subtle (or I try to make them so). Basically, it has to do with the progression of the war in general where I get my ideas from history, that way the characters have somewhere they have to go based on the decision of military decision-makers, versus going aimlessly, carelessly, and senselessly from battle to battle which make no apparent sense or have any common connection. Again, the reader won't be savvy to the tactics and strategy of the military planners except for passing allusions (rather how the only tactical understanding we had from First Gundam was Matilda's messages about Operation Odessa and Bright being informed that White Base would be the 13th Autonomous Corps to act as a decoy), the time is spent following the characters from place to place. Indeed, many of the characters won't even grasp why they're going to fight a battle in a specific place because they have no need to understand it.


My problem with the Second Punic War being a model for your background is most of history recorded on it was about Hannibal's legions crossing from upper Africa into what is modern day Europe and marching all the way to Italy, and then from there taking out superior Roman numbers to the point of thorough humiliation. Unless you're going to have your version of the White Base do the same thing, which in a way was what happened in both the novels and TV show, then you may want to consider taking references from other wars just so the events don't entirely surround your cast. It's been reported Tomino took some things from Vietnam, which happened around that period of time, as much as he borrowed stuff from World War II when he was writing Gundam, although I don't put much stock MSG making actual allusions to real life wars as much as it was being an toy commercial with a story to it (please don't bite my head off for that).

alpha wing zero wrote:
:shock: Truthfully, though, this is only a retelling of the UC in that I was inspired by Gundam for a few things and that it has mobile suits. In fact, there wasn't originally going to be any mobile suits called Gundam in the story, but that, I fear, would seal my fate at Saviour status!


God forbid any work ending up like G-Saviour. Anyway, I already said I like retellings; my thing is you either have UC elements in the story or you don't. That being said, not to contradict Ascension, but I think you could get away with using names like Amuro Ray, Bright Noa and Kamille Bidan since they're pretty much the same characters as in UC. You just compensate by having some original characters and elements so that everyone knows it's your story.

As far as the MS go, I assure you won't be the first person to use MS based on Zakus, Goufs, Doms and Gelgoogs (even SEED wasn't), so you might as well keep the names for those. Just put up new stats for them and you're good to go.

Oh and before I forget, here's a good fanfic to read for inspiration. It's quite long, but not too long that it'll make you spasm, and it's written by an actual soldier to boot:

Mobile Suit Gundam: In Vain Doth Valour Bleed by His Divine Shadow

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Thanks for the additional feedback, alpha wing zero!

I'm not sure I would classify the characters as being so much like Kamille, Amuro, Bright, etc that they would do justice to those names. That being said, I still plan on keeping Kamille. Maybe better put is that certain characters fill the same role as the ones in UC (Landon/Amuro, Zahn/Bright), yet they remain their own characters, nonetheless. For instance, whereas Amuro was into engineering and kept to himself, not really carrying about the outside world, Landon is so politically and socially aware of the events in the Solar System that it drives his friends nuts. Landon is also very opinionated when it comes to politics and the experience will make him someone he never wanted to be while at the same time he struggles to hold on to the idealism of youth. Also, in saying Zahn is the analog for Bright is only stating his role as a leader of sorts. Zahn has much more charisma and charm than Bright and no military experience, thus he relies on a close friend, a retired Army colonel who works as head of security at the colony. The test will come later when Zahn and the colony have the war come to their doorstep and thrusts them all into the fire: Zahn will have to lead people, civilians, in combat situations, something he is not at all prepared to do. The other Bright analog is closer to the true Bright, but is very minor in being the conning officer on the bridge of a carrier--it was meant more as a wink to Gundam fans than anything else.

Even so, I can see what you're saying about either keeping or throwing out allusions to the UC. I will think long and hard about what version/manifestation of the story I will type and post here before I do (as most of the story is written, albeit in a primitive, pre-Gundam form).

I'll be sure to the read the story ASAP! It sounds far too interesting to pass up, and the fact a Soldier wrote it makes my mouth drool all the more as I hope it will add a level of reality to the story.

Thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming! :D :)

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:23 am 
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Heh... :lol: A character named Beowulf... I can't help but think of Kyosuke from SRW now...

I can't forgive Turtledove for Guns of the South. There are enough logical, reasonable ways the South could have won if things had gone even the slightest bit differently that resorting to something as preposterous as time traveling gunrunners with AK-47s to produce a victory just seems lame. I'm all for alternate history if it's written wisely and based on well researched ACTUAL history, but something like this is just laughable.

On the other hand, I didn't realize until just now, looking at his Wikipedia entry, that his later books based on a post-Confederate-victory America were NOT in the same timeline as the aforementioned abomination. Oops. :oops: That at least makes me feel better. I fully agree with his position in those books, about how the Union would have sided with the Germans in WWI. I might actually swallow my pride and indignation and actually give reading him a try.

...anyway... on another note, I'm awed to be in the presence of a history major. I've considered majoring in history myself in the past, and it's still my fallback plan in case things fall through, but I've decided on engineering as a focus... We'll see how that works out later this year (I start college in the fall). Here I've been rambling on about things with no clue that I was talking to someone with far more expertise in the field than I can claim to have! I've just read a few books, and you're specializing in it! I apologize for my ignorance.

Speaking of the amount of history and of strategic information about the flow of the war included in the story, I must admit that I'm enamoured with background information, provided that it isn't so pervasive that it swallows the story at hand completely. I love appendices, I love supplemental books (like "A Guide to... fill in the blank" sort of books). If I had been Tolkien, I probably would have added a few more appendices! I realize, however that the ordinary reader doesn't want THAT much background... which is why you limit the background information in the story itself and then simply write eight or ten appendices!

Also, while we're on this topic... One of the things that bothers me about the battles in Gundam is an almost complete lack of an understanding of what really happened in any of them except the part which directly relates to the Gundam itself. Now I will admit that a lengthy discussion of tactics and strategy doesn't really fit in a television show, but in a book or a fanfiction... I'd like to see some detail on the broader scope of the war and of the battles. Take Odessa for an example... We know that the Fed's air force and the Type 61 tank came through in the clutch and that the Feddies won... But HOW did they really win? Just knowing what tools came in handy doesn't really tell us much. I'd like to see a map with the arrows and whatnot showing the movement of the various units involved. I'd like to see hard numbers of troops and equipment involved. I'd like to see a lot of things. In reading any sort of military history, you get this sort of information, but in a war drama you don't. I guess what I'd really like to read more than anything else would be a fictional history book, more or less. Again, this probably isn't what anyone else is looking to read, but at least you could give some consideration to troop movements and whatnot.

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Ascension, I suggest you read Turtledove's How Few Remain, the first novel in the series you were talking about. And contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with Guns of the South--I would never read anything that fantastical. In truth, I have to be convinced of its ability to happen or else I quickly lose interest.

Ascension wrote:
..anyway... on another note, I'm awed to be in the presence of a history major.
I'm flattered, but I'm no expert in all things history. I will say I may no more than is healthy about ancient History and Ancient Rome in specific, but I'm not history professor...yet. :lol:

Ascension wrote:
Speaking of the amount of history and of strategic information about the flow of the war included in the story, I must admit that I'm enamoured with background information, provided that it isn't so pervasive that it swallows the story at hand completely. I love appendices, I love supplemental books (like "A Guide to... fill in the blank" sort of books). If I had been Tolkien, I probably would have added a few more appendices! I realize, however that the ordinary reader doesn't want THAT much background... which is why you limit the background information in the story itself and then simply write eight or ten appendices!
My last story has five completed appendices detailing some of the minor details of the military forces involved in the tale. Unlike Tolkein, though, I never provide background material outside of what the characters choose to talk about--indeed, I may have created the characters, they control what they do through their various personalities. If a character happens to bring up a vague allusion to some battle and then nothing more, it's only because everyone else knows about it and it wouldn't make sense for him to rattle on and on (and on...) about it. Rather, I leave background and historical info as a possible doorway to a prequel or sequel, depending on how well the last story goes. In the case of the story I am proposing here, this is actually a sequel of sorts to another, completed story.

Ascension wrote:
Also, while we're on this topic... One of the things that bothers me about the battles in Gundam is an almost complete lack of an understanding of what really happened in any of them except the part which directly relates to the Gundam itself. Now I will admit that a lengthy discussion of tactics and strategy doesn't really fit in a television show, but in a book or a fanfiction... I'd like to see some detail on the broader scope of the war and of the battles. Take Odessa for an example... We know that the Fed's air force and the Type 61 tank came through in the clutch and that the Feddies won... But HOW did they really win? Just knowing what tools came in handy doesn't really tell us much. I'd like to see a map with the arrows and whatnot showing the movement of the various units involved. I'd like to see hard numbers of troops and equipment involved. I'd like to see a lot of things. In reading any sort of military history, you get this sort of information, but in a war drama you don't. I guess what I'd really like to read more than anything else would be a fictional history book, more or less. Again, this probably isn't what anyone else is looking to read, but at least you could give some consideration to troop movements and whatnot.
Watch the episodes of First Gundam which lead up to Operation Odessa. It will show you, albeit briefly, arrows and and such advancing on the mining base. Also, if you read Dyar's timeline at the High Frontier websites, he gives something of an outline of the operation. The rest of the tactics and strategy in Gundam are rather implicit in nature as you must try to decipher why certain ships or mobile suits are where they are versus charging straight forward. This is the case with the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Qu where you briefly here mention of which units will advance with whom and in what direction, etc. This is most clearly shown in Encounters in Space as the Federation Fleet recovers and rallies around White Base following the disaster from the firing of the Solar Ray and the loss of General Revil.

As for writing a story about this: I did this once and, sadly, it turned out to be very boring. Indeed, in my last story I did have digressions where the generals would talk about what was happening, but this was always in the context of a main character being present and overhearing the conversation, never the center of attention. Later, though, I went back and wrote a fictional historiography of the events as they happened rather in the style of writing a researched essay. Sadly, this is not the stuff of story-writing. Even so, your interest is noted and may find some place in this current story.

Keep the feedback and ideas coming! :)



EDIT: Somethings I forgot to address:
jam! wrote:
I find it kinda hard to conceptualise people emigrating all the way to Jupiter and then making the extremely long treks back to Earth just to battle for independence.
Well, that is the faith part of sci-fi where, despite even my own objections, you have to suspend reality. In any event, the story never details anyone going from Jupiter to Earth to fight. And in any event, there is no combat action on Earth during the story--the closest the story's combat comes to Earth is in the Greater Mars Sphere, and that's minimal as they are skirmishes between patrol squadrons of the UN Space Forces and the Zanscar Union Navy.

As for the bit concerning an Asteroid Drop on Earth committed by the Zanscar Union (which the characters all call "Separatist" due in large part, as pointed out, the distance between Earth/Mars Spheres and Greater Jupiter--indeed, most people haven't any idea the proper name for the enemy, resorting to names like "Separatists", "rebels", and "Jovians") at the very start of the war, this was assumed by United Nations Space Forces and reported to the general public as being an blitzkrieg-style offensive committed by forces from Jupiter. Of course, this isn't the case (though the characters do not understood that until much later, if at all) as the war broke out on 2099.03.03 and the Asteroid Drop operation (called by the Zanscar Union "Operation British" for a reason outside of using the UC name) was committed on 2099.04.26 following an engagement between the UNSF's 11th Astrofleet and a small, Zanscar fleet at L2 the day prior. Basically, there are those persons dissatisfied and angry with the UN living within United Nations-held space, namely many of the colonies in the Mars Sphere who are later held as neutral and some rogue mining colonies in the Asteroid Belt. What happens is that whilst Zanscar Home Forces attack the UNSF shipyards at Io, the disgruntled forces within UN space launch combat operations on a second, secret front, further catching the UN off guard. This does two things: 1) is keeps the UNSF busy at home so they can't retaliate on Jupiter immediately and 2) wages psychological warfare as to the UN government and population, it appears the Zanscar Union forces are capable of deploying forces faster than ever imagined across the Solar System. Those are the forces that, in the name of the Zanscar Union, carry out the Asteroid Drop on Southern California--successful, mind you, compared to Operation British in the UC.

Of course, none of that is in the story just yet, only vague allusions to "the Asteroid Drop" and the fear and panic that spread across Earth at the thought of "Jovian forces on our doorstep within days". Details of the operation and such are no mentioned, and even if they were, most of the characters don't know any of the specifics as none of them are people of high standing (I believe the highest ranking characters from whose point-of-view the story is ever narrated is a Captain of a UN warship). Plus, not even the UNSF put together that the forces that carried out the Asteroid Drop (they don't even know the name of the operation) weren't even proper members of the Zanscar Union Navy.

Just thought I'd share some background/history there. :roll:

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:08 pm 
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As a fellow major in history and scifi writter (in progress) I have to admit you have some pretty good ideas.
I know many don't enjoy a rettelling of the UC, but who knows it could be fun.
Anyway i look forward to the first pages 8)
Good luck

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Sounds interesting. Go for it.

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The positive feedback is quite encouraging. Thank you Nagato21 and solid snake!

Something else I forgot to address: I mentioned that my story is more heavily inspired by Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam novels than the TV series. In this sense, except for some moments on Saturn's moon, Titan, the story takes place exclusively in space. All surface-based action is more like backdrop or such for action in space and really isn't anything like the way First Gundam or even Zeta used Earth.

Also, I want to take this opportunity to reemphasize that this story is nearly 100% original plot drafted years ago. The fact I have called it a "retelling of the UC" is only to give some perspective, but again, that is inaccurate as its more an original story inspired (not based on) the UC which just happens to contain some names and events from the UC. Rather how the Tomino novels take material from the series and retell them in different contexts, I do something similar, but it's not so much retelling as it is taking events and such which have some striking similarities to the UC, but in whatever context I choose to the point that the readership may not even recognize their new manifestation due to the years of evolution in story-telling.

That was long-winded...

I plan on posting the first few pages introducing some of the main characters sometime soon, though some real-world matters have managed to take my attention. Look for a thread by me in this forum sometime in the second week of February.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:37 pm 
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I may have to read through it all again but still...

Try not to make your "picture" too big. Having so many things going on you/we can lose track and/or most parts of the story will not be as detailed, even neglected with having so many points floating about. Especially if something's a "good idea" yet not thoroughly developed due to it not being part of the main plot.

You could be greatly prone to this due to so many locales. Earth, Mars, asteroids, various moons and numerous orbital space colonies.

You may want to focus on something specific, with the occasional battle/new/whatever update reports on what's taking place elsewhere. Maybe once you finish (the entire story, a chapter or an arc) you can return and insert anything additional you need.

As for the history portion. I've never been too keen on it. Whether it's writing/typing, reading or editting--I've never been a fan of "cutting and pasting" historical events onto a work all that much. Even when I don't know/understand a historical event was based used. (I've got a real big love-hate-love-hate-love relationship with alternate fiction. :lol: Especially those with the tendency of something in that reality to go exactly like the events in our reality, e.g. Turtledove's USA vs CSA universe mirroring WW1 & WW2 >_<) It seems rather limiting (to the writer--in this case yourself) to do such a thing. I'm okay with a character using say, a tactic that's right out of history or akin to something historical but to use it continously (whether different historical sources or just one) is a bit much.

I'm more of the make-your-own-battle in accordance to character(s) personality, training, skill and experience. It gives them a chance to display their weaknesses and strengths rather than follow a set script.

Don't think I'm wailing on you or anything. That's just my opinion. 8)

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Thanks for the feedback, Ziryab!

I can understand how tiresome the cut-and-paste method can get--indeed, there were points in Turtledove's The Great War series where I got bored because the real-world history was too glaring. In truth, I take the same approach as you do in creating my own battles. It's rather in the theme of the combat or the action that I am inspired by history--never will I cut and paste. So where I said I would use events inspired by World War II, this might include the first act of the war being a surprise attack on United Nations shipyards, similar to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and that it drew in the USA into the Second World War. These are only backdrops to everything else and hardly emphasized.

I can also understand how the scale of this story can seem rather unwieldy; indeed, I nearly gave up on the story at one point because of the scale. No worries, though, I've managed to take the Turtledove approach, but even more limited. In this sense, I center the story around a dozen or so main characters in different areas of the Solar System being affected in various ways by the war. Unlike Turtledove who is happy to leave all these independent story lines running crazed without ever meeting, I make certain there is a reason I have introduced each character. They will all eventually meet or intertwine in some way, though this certainly takes time. For instance, two characters who start out together (Beowulf Zahn and Landon Ray) will not meet with the other main group (Julia and Kamille) until about halfway through the story.

Thanks for the feedback, all! Keep it coming! And be sure to ask questions so that I might be able to clear up anything that may seem unclear or awkward. :)

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I apologize to all parties for not posting the FanFiction yet. Since I last visited MechaTalk, the Army has recalled me to active duty. With getting my affairs together at university and now being slapped with a platoon of mechanized infantry to lead, I've been running around like crazy; needless to say, no progress has been made with my story. I apologize to those of you guys who were interested in reading the story for doing this whole absence bit. I'd also like to thank the moderators for allowing me to put this thread up and being so patient, and apologize that it hasn't gone to the point it should have when it began. I expected to have posted the story long ago, but no progress has been made and it appears none will be made for some time--we deploy soon, very soon.

Catch all of you on the flip-side.

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Last edited by SOCL on Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Yikes.

Well, take care over there, and remember to keep your head down.


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