Author Topic: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019  (Read 1787 times)

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Offline Iain Baker

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HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
Hi everyone.

Whilst I am waiting for the high res artwork for the YouTube banner and the updated version of the 2014 MVP intro (hint hint  ;7) I have been quietly promoting FreeSpace and HLP by indirect means. One of the ways I have been doing this is by mentioning FreeSpace SCP and HLP in some of the articles I am writing / due to write.

One of these articles is tentatively named: ‘The Implausibility of Popular Sci-Fi Aliens’. In essence it is a 4000 word hit-piece on how scientifically implausible most mainstream sci-fi alien races are, due to being far too human. For example, the Vulcans from Star Trek, or the Centauri from Babylon 5. (I fully expect to receive hate main from trekkies 😉

 The article then compares these to some of the more interesting and scientifically plausible aliens in less mainstream sci-fi. Two examples of these come from FreeSpace.

Firstly the ‘Squeaker’ – the Vasudan to human translation device. I cited this since it actually translates speech, instead of simply making all the aliens sound like they are speaking English, which is what Star Trek’s Universal Translator appears to do.

The second example are the Shivans, and their Blue Planet depiction in particular. I cited them as they are utterly unlike humans, but also well described and internally consistent in their ‘Capital A’ alienness.

I have reached out to several publications, such as BBC Science Focus and sci-fi publications such as Tor.com, Clarkesworld and Analog Science Fiction and Fact (sister publication to Asimov’s Science Fiction.) With luck one of them will publish it, and thus introduce FreeSpace and HLP to a wider audience. Most of the sites state it takes them about three months to reply, so for now it’s the waiting game. I’ll keep you all posted.

If anyone has any suggestions about other publications / websites etc. that are worth approaching, please let me know.
I have two more articles up my sleeve which may also introduce FreeSpace and HLP to a wider audience. I’ll keep you posted on those too.

Link below is to the post about the images and video I need.

https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=95426.0
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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
That sounds pretty cool! Good idea you had there. :D

 

Offline Black Wolf

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
The whole "Sci-Fi Aliens are Unrealistic!" trope has been around for ages. It's not wrong, but there's a pretty compelling counterargument that you can draw from evolutionary biology. The short version is that a) there are certain things that have evolved repeatedly on Earth and show clear selective advantage and b) there are certain environments where general intelligence and the ability to manipulate tools in complex ways has less selective value than other things, like an aerodynamic or hydrodynamic shape. As a result, tool using intelligent Aliens that make it into a full on technological society like ours are likely to have a number of things in common (stereoscopic front facing eyes, complex manipulators not involved in locomotion etc.) and likely have come down a relatively limited number of evolutionary niches (probably not exclusively aquatic, probably can't fly, likely not exclusively herbivorous etc.). I'm not saying the first Aliens  we meet are going to look exactly like us but with slightly different ears, but to my mind, a Vasudan is vastly more realistic than a Shivan.

I should get around to writing this all down some day. :P
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Offline HLD_Prophecy

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
^What BlackWolf said.  ;)

But yeah, thanks for going to the work of writing that! I'd only recommend looking into some other 'plausible' alien races as well such that the article isn't too much an obvious HLP plug.  :lol:

 

Offline Cyborg17

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
Fantastic idea! I reall hope this gets published!!

 

Offline The E

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
The whole "Sci-Fi Aliens are Unrealistic!" trope has been around for ages. It's not wrong, but there's a pretty compelling counterargument that you can draw from evolutionary biology. The short version is that a) there are certain things that have evolved repeatedly on Earth and show clear selective advantage and b) there are certain environments where general intelligence and the ability to manipulate tools in complex ways has less selective value than other things, like an aerodynamic or hydrodynamic shape. As a result, tool using intelligent Aliens that make it into a full on technological society like ours are likely to have a number of things in common (stereoscopic front facing eyes, complex manipulators not involved in locomotion etc.) and likely have come down a relatively limited number of evolutionary niches (probably not exclusively aquatic, probably can't fly, likely not exclusively herbivorous etc.). I'm not saying the first Aliens  we meet are going to look exactly like us but with slightly different ears, but to my mind, a Vasudan is vastly more realistic than a Shivan.

I should get around to writing this all down some day. :P

When you do, keep in mind the limitations of that argument. Yes, when we look at life on Earth, we see certain patterns appear and reappear over and over again -- that does not mean, however, that these things are universally optimal.

Evolution isn't a search algorithm for the best solution to a given problem. It's a search algorithm that finds the first usable solution; it can run into situations where it will keep iterating on something sub-optimal instead of switching tracks to the actual optimal solution.

We literally cannot make any assumptions about life on other planets based on life on ours. Even assumptions about what it means to be intelligent are possibly fallacious (see Peter Watts' seminal Blindsight on this issue); literally anything is possible when you have to deal with the results of processes that are based on random chance operating over billions of years.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
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Offline Black Wolf

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
I'm familiar with that argument E and I understand the appeal, but I don't agree for a variety of reasons. My whole position on what we can expect from Aliens is kind of based on the idea that that argument is fundamentally flawed once you examine it in detail. I started typing out a response but it got too long and unwieldy, I'll write something proper up one day.
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Offline DefCynodont119

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
I would add that the Aforementioned need for stereoscopic eyes, complex manipulators, not being a herbivore, and high intelligence, doesn't really require being humanoid in appearance- just an endothermic mirror-symmetrical Vertebrate/Chordate at the Absolute least, I agree that the Zods make more evolutionary sense then the Shivans, but not everyone out in space is going to be a Savannah-dwelling, Pursuit/Endurance predator with two arms and two legs that eats, breaths, and communicates via the same hole. IMHO.


Alex Ries's "Birrin" are a good example of non-human looking life that still makes sense:

« Last Edit: February 21, 2019, 04:10:04 am by DefCynodont119 »
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
Saw this come up on Twitter; Thought I stop by and give me two cents...

I think "plausability"-article to be a bad idea, playing to the worst aspects of pedantic "nerd culture". IMO "Plausability" is a bad access point to Fiction (please, remember my dislike of realist styles in art); Science Fiction has a specialy relationship with reality by being science-based fiction, and therefor plausability plays more important role in it then in other genres - however that should not negate the why behind one engages in fiction, e.g. to explore a hypothetical or contrafactual sequence of events to elaborate a theme or a thesis (however basic it might be).

Additionally, "plausability"-arguements tend to towards the non-pragmatic that does not allign itself well with the story-telling or performance requirements that are made to make things work for audience or to work in production at all - e.g. arguments of cost or convience (e.g. that certain actors don't have skill or physique to act underneath prostethics make-up or through elaborate physical routines).
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
Re: HLP promotion via articles Feb 2019
I just think that if aliens look identical it's a lack of creativity, either by the evolution or the writers. Or lack of budget.