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The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

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The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Floridian Dream » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:33 pm

I'm working on a novella in which a exploration crew on a submarine discovers an underwater civilization, and I'm currently on the chapter in which they should find this. I'm currently stuck at how this should unfold; does the sub find the civilization first or the civilians? If it be the first option, how do you picture the outcome? If it is the civilians the sub meets first (and assuming these civilians are telepathic), what do you suppose they do first?

Can anyone please offer some suggestions? It would be most appreciated, thank you! :)
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Bmat » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:03 am

Your story involves humans discovering a telepathic civilization underwater?
Are you asking if the submarine humans discover the telepathic beings first or signs of their civilization?
It could go either way. I'd probably have the submarine humans finding odd structures (?) other items they can't explain (?) and then through some circumstance realize these must be the products of another civilization. Since the other beings are telepathic, perhaps they fled or hid when the sub humans appeared. Perhaps the sub group comes to the conclusion that the beings are long departed, and then something shows up that makes them realize the beings are still there- perhaps one of the young beings darts out and at first the sub humans think it is a fish but eventually realize that what they saw ... and so forth. :)
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Floridian Dream » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:59 am

Bmat wrote:I'd probably have the submarine humans finding odd structures (?) other items they can't explain (?) and then through some circumstance realize these must be the products of another civilization.

Yeah, I did have something like that in mind, like that the submarine discovers strange structures that don't seem natural, like a pyramid or something of the like.

Bmat wrote:Since the other beings are telepathic, perhaps they fled or hid when the sub humans appeared.

That does seem like food for thought, but I guess it depends on what kind of telepathy we're dealing with. I guess they could be telepathic in the sense that they can sense someone presence by the detection of its brainwaves, or they could be able to browse through said someone's thoughts and see whether or not they come in friendly terms. Now assuming the latter half were the case, how would you picture the outcome if the natives themselves are also friendly?
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Asp Zelazny » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:18 pm

interesting idea; as I think about it, a lot would depend on where you want the story to go. Most first contact stories go badly for one side or the other; it might be refreshing if there was a mutually beneficial outcome. That said, it seems that conflict drives the majority of stories in SF (and elsewhere). The discovery of artifacts is logical, given human levels of technology, perhaps fairly standard it you want to go that route, and then develop other aspects to tell something new. Or, how about if the first awareness of the Other is *due* to the telepathy? Say, that it might have an effect on some or all members of the crew -- and then they have to figure out what is going on? That alone, even before the discovery of this civilization, could create a subplot to deal with ... or, possibly, from the submarine crew's POV they might never come to understand what happened, with the discovery only in the telepath society's awareness.
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Bmat » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:52 pm

I like Asp's suggestion of the telepathy having a prior effect on the crew. Maybe they or the one with the effect can't get over the feeling that they've seen the artifact before.
There is more to browsing through a human's thoughts and mind then just reading friendly intent, there may be some avarice, some guilt from the past that darkens the mind. Worth pursuing. :)
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Floridian Dream » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:29 pm

Bmat wrote:I like Asp's suggestion of the telepathy having a prior effect on the crew.

I did have the idea that as the natives are using their telepathy to browse through the minds of the crew, the crew starts having weird sensations of some force penetrating their minds and everything they know and have kept stored in their memories flashing before their eyes.

Bmat wrote:There is more to browsing through a human's thoughts and mind then just reading friendly intent, there may be some avarice, some guilt from the past that darkens the mind. Worth pursuing. :)

I was initially wondering why all the "avarice and guilt from the past" would matter when the natives know that their human visitors come in peace, but unless your suggesting that this reminding of the crew's inner demons could potentially get the crew to reflect on it all, I say it makes pretty good plot material. Is this what you've been suggesting?
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Bmat » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:58 am

I was initially wondering why all the "avarice and guilt from the past" would matter when the natives know that their human visitors come in peace, but unless your suggesting that this reminding of the crew's inner demons could potentially get the crew to reflect on it all, I say it makes pretty good plot material. Is this what you've been suggesting?


That the crew comes to reflect on their personal problems would add depth, but I had in mind (pun not intended) more that the underwater beings would detect a basically benign intention that was clouded a bit by past experiences. And the beings would deal with this according to their own backgrounds and emotional tendencies.

A possible scenario is that the beings tentatively welcome the sub humans but detain or refuse certain crew members. The crew is perplexed at the reason behind the refusing of the certain members who have seemed no different from any others of the crew. Tossing the idea around... the sub doctor could be one of the refused. and eventually it turns out that the beings are picking up on horrific experiences the doctor has had in the ER that the beings pick up on and fear that the doctor would be influenced negatively by the images.

I am throwing out ideas, it is absolutely your own story and you are welcome to discard my thoughts. :)
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Floridian Dream » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:45 pm

Bmat wrote:That the crew comes to reflect on their personal problems would add depth, but I had in mind (pun not intended) more that the underwater beings would detect a basically benign intention that was clouded a bit by past experiences. And the beings would deal with this according to their own backgrounds and emotional tendencies.

A possible scenario is that the beings tentatively welcome the sub humans but detain or refuse certain crew members. The crew is perplexed at the reason behind the refusing of the certain members who have seemed no different from any others of the crew. Tossing the idea around... the sub doctor could be one of the refused. and eventually it turns out that the beings are picking up on horrific experiences the doctor has had in the ER that the beings pick up on and fear that the doctor would be influenced negatively by the images.


So basically, the aquatics discriminate between the sub's crew by their past experiences and personalities. I actually find these ideas intriguing. The fact that the crew is perplexed at the aquatics' discrimination between certain members also sounds like good plot material; I wonder if it could lead to a conflict or something… Could it affect the plot in some way?
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Re: The City Below the Sea: "What to Do"

Postby Bmat » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:27 pm

It depends on how you envision the aquatics- as beneficent beings who would be able to help soothe the inner struggles of the crew? or as timid beings who avoid discord. or as wise and strong beings who stand firmly in their refusal to have anything to do with most or all of the crew. and so forth. And where you plan to take the story, what the final outcome will likely be. :)
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