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Build a Space Battle

So, you want to include a titanic space battle in your military SF novel or your galaxy-spanning space opera. But…who’s fighting? Why are they fighting? You’d like to make the battle realistic…but what tactics and strategies make sense? In this workshop, you’ll learn by doing as we collaboratively build an epic space battle.

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Build a Space Battle

  1. 1. Build a Space Battle David Keener Capclave: October 7, 2017
  2. 2. Agenda • Introduction • Let’s Build a Battle Together - Setup - Opening Moves - Middle Game - The Endgame • Wrap-up - Shameless Self-Promotion Break
  3. 3. Who Am I? David Keener • I write genre mash-ups… • Most of them with some sort of combat or military angle • Novelettes/Novellas • Anthology Editor
  4. 4. Warning: Discussion Ahead This workshop requires DISCUSSION… • We will all be contributing ideas • We will all be discussing the ideas • Our discussion will be respectful • But if this isn’t your thing… …then this is not the workshop for you
  5. 5. Basic Scenario • The Human sphere has expanded • Currently at War with the Qual • The Qual enslave species and destroy cultures • The Qual have started a Big Push • Humans just discovered an unprotected alien species, the Allem, in the path of the Big Push
  6. 6. Your Mission… • Planetary Defense: The “Faucette” System • Protect the “Allem” at all costs Note: The Qual take planetary real estate, they don’t deliberately destroy it - So no “planet buster” weapons
  7. 7. Overall War Context Human Qual Expected Push Actual Push Allem
  8. 8. Battlespace: Faucette System 1 2 3 4 5 6 Allem Homeworld Asteroid Belt Gas Giants
  9. 9. The Rest is up to YOU…
  10. 10. Setup • Aliens - Human, Qual, Allem - General attitudes, motivations - High-level social organization • Technologies - Relative Tech Levels - Space Travel (FTL, STL) - Weaponry
  11. 11. Relative Tech Levels • Need to establish this up-front - Human - Qual - Allem • How can Allem participate in battle?
  12. 12. Brainstorming • We still have details to lock down… • But let’s just let our imaginations run free WHAT happens in this battle?
  13. 13. Species: Human • General Attitudes - Exploratory, Expansionistic, Altruistic? • Motivations - Why are they out in space? - What are they doing? - Why are they protecting the Allem? • Social Organization (High-level) - Federation, Empire, Hodge-Podge?
  14. 14. Species: Qual • General Attitudes - Expansionistic, Enslaving, etc. • Motivations - Why are they out in space? - What are they in “conquer” mode? - Religious? Ideological? Both? • Social Organization (High-level) - Federation, Empire, Theocracy?
  15. 15. Species: Allem • General Attitudes - Expansionistic, Enslaving, etc. • Motivations - Are they out in space? - How will they feel about aliens? - How will they deal with the battle? • Social Organization (High-level) - Balkanized, Loose Confederation, etc.?
  16. 16. Break
  17. 17. Brainstorming 2 • We’ve locked down more of the setup… • Can we envision anything new and different? WHAT happens in this battle?
  18. 18. Our Goals • The “Good Guys” win - Can be a costly victory, not a Pyrrhic victory • The Allem are saved - But there are casualties • The battle is a “squeaker” • Logistically, human forces are still trickling in throughout the battle • All sides fight intelligently – winning is EARNED
  19. 19. Opening Moves • Defenders prepare their defenses • Attackers do reconnaissance • Forces are moved into position • Reserve forces placed strategically • Opening clashes • Mutual testing of capabilities
  20. 20. The Middle Game • Forces are fully engaged • Attackers are actively degrading defenses • Allem (hopefully) involved in ground fighting • Reserve forces may or may not be engaged
  21. 21. The Endgame • Close battle right to the bitter end • Ending with massive orbital battle • Significant surface clashes with grounded ships • Costly victory => Defenders
  22. 22. Congratulations! How Does It Feel to Save the Day?
  23. 23. Inspiration 1971 2001 Primarily inspired by “Siege of Earth,” a short 1971 novel Also by John Ringo’s Posleen series
  24. 24. Shameless Plug Editor; also contains one of my “Royal Protector” stories Contains a “Roadwerks” story: urban fantasy, Faerie, law enforcement, paramilitary mash-up “Touched by an Angel” meets a magic book with a bad attitude
  25. 25. Upcoming Projects • Urban Zombie Novel - Summer, 2018 • As Editor, in 2018 - Tales from the Forever House - Worlds Enough 2: Future Crimes Web Site Email dkeener _at Sign Up for My Newsletter
  26. 26. Questions