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.
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.