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ArdusKane
July 15th, 2007, 07:27 PM
For the novel I'm planning, I have the current situation on Earth projected into the future in another solar system. Different countries have colonized the planets there, subtly fighting for resources.

I don't intend to portray either side as bad or good, since I believe there is no such thing at all. My plan is to have the protagonist and antagonist be exchangeable. It will be up to the reader to decide who they want to see as the protagonist.

Also, are there any books out there that play with this idea?

James Carmack
July 15th, 2007, 11:08 PM
Two sides scrapping with neither holding the decisive moral high ground where you can pick which side to root for? Some people would describe the UC metaseries of the Gundam franchise as such.

It certainly can work. There is a slight risk, though. You take on the fuzzy approach, people may not root for either side. I know that in Zeta Gundam, I wanted both the AEUG and the Titans to all die. (Thankfully, since it's a Tomino series, I mostly got my wish.)

Yes, I know that the example I used wasn't a book, but I'm sure there are those out there that do.

Now that I think of it, Harry Turtedove's World War series comes pretty close to that approach. Americans, Brits, Russkies, Chicoms, Nazis, Jewish partisans, and even the aliens themselves get a pretty fair shake. It's like he loves them all. (The Japanese were the notable exception. Whether that has any deeper meaning or not is anyone's guess.)

KatG
July 16th, 2007, 10:04 AM
Yes, it's called a double spy premise. Two noble (or not so noble) enemies who have much in common and who are in opposition to each other and must outmanuever each other, yet have much respect for each other and may even end up working together at times, should their goals/duties coalesce. By taking it out of Earth and placing it in a colony, you remove the stigma that might stain one of actors because of the country he or she works for, such as you would have in the Cold War or things of that nature.

It's a very common situation in sf and should give you no trouble. It usually ends up being very interesting. However, I do think you'll find that one character will probably take precedence over the other and thematically will be the protagonist, the one whom the story is truly about, while the other becomes the secondary protagonist, equally important in the story, but not its fulcrum and emotional center. You can certainly play around with it and see how it comes out.

James Carmack
July 16th, 2007, 08:26 PM
You have to ask yourself: Who is your Char and who is your Amuro?

Then you have to ask why the former thinks sunglasses can pass for a disguise and that "Quattro Bajeena" is a good alias.

lin
July 16th, 2007, 08:43 PM
Definitely workable. And in my mind the best way to go...if you can pull it off. I've got something very similar (in several ways, oddly) going on in the book I'm currently working on.

A lot of people get the idea that you need a single "protagonist" with an antagonistic enemy in order to have a story. Mostly they get this idea from reading books about writing instead of reading books that ARE writing and actually doing writing. Screenwriting is a bloodbath of kook theory, and the One Protag fetish is strong there.

But no. You're concept is very workable. In a way, a love story is very much like that. Any balanced love story or even RomCom is another refutation to the single protag theory. Two equal parties struggling toward their own interests.
Great example is Gone With The Wind, actually. Is eithet Scarlett or Rhett the protagonist of that book? No, they are essentially opponents of equal strength.

ArdusKane
July 18th, 2007, 07:33 AM
Would it be a better idea to just strip the real world names and up the intensity of the plot?
Or should I keep the current country references and hope I don't get into any trouble (that is, if I even get published in the first place)?

lin
July 18th, 2007, 09:58 AM
Have you stumbled into the wrong thread here?

KatG
July 18th, 2007, 12:58 PM
Would it be a better idea to just strip the real world names and up the intensity of the plot?
Or should I keep the current country references and hope I don't get into any trouble (that is, if I even get published in the first place)?

It depends on what you decide happened in the future. Did the countries we have today survive and set up colonies in this place? Did some countries merge or split into new entities? Or are these current countries completely gone from Mother Earth and now entirely new countries have taken their place? You also may need to think about racial characteristics, but it would probably be easiest to assume that they remained pretty much the same. There is a correlation between race and countries, but in many areas it is blurred because of immigration and multi-ethnic generations. So there's no guarantee that the countries we have now would survive intact.

But there's no guarantee that they wouldn't either, and if you want to explore the various aspects of these countries, there's no reason you can't use them. You might find the author interview with sf author Ian McDonald that we have in the Interview section right now of some interest to you, as he talks about these kinds of issues re his new novel, Brasyl.

Expendable
July 18th, 2007, 09:53 PM
Would it be a better idea to just strip the real world names and up the intensity of the plot?
Or should I keep the current country references and hope I don't get into any trouble (that is, if I even get published in the first place)?

Ok, first of all, the countries haven't moved, they're still on Earth. What you've got is colonies of people who not only have their own problems but have also brought with them their old-world history too. It's not going to be France on that new world but it will be a French colony. Sort of like Quebec.