Venture into the mind of a total nerd.

I am that total nerd by the way.

I’ve always had a love for science-fiction, and it undoubtedly shows in my posts about games like Elite: DangerousNo Man’s SkyQuantum Break, and my new love, Horizon: Zero Dawn. What you may not know is that the topic of space exploration fascinates me to no end, and perhaps just as importantly (you’ll know why it’s important shortly), the aliens of sci-fi pop culture creep me out.

Not the aliens from Alien or Avatar, mind you. The aliens like the ones from The X-Files or Fire In The Sky. The movies The Fourth Kind and Signs, while being kinda terrible, still gave me nightmares.

You may be wondering to yourself: “What relevance does this have to Falcon Game Reviews?” I will answer that question with a question.

Are you interested in science-fiction books?

The reason I ask is that I’ve been interested in writing a story for some time, and I’ve had the general idea of it nailed down since mid-2015. However, I never took the time to really consider the background of the story in full until I woke up a couple nights ago and Mass Effect: Andromeda popped into my mind. I took a couple paragraphs of notes and went back to sleep.

Without giving too much away, I’d like to let you in on a few of the details of what I have in mind.


Far in humanity’s future, we have expanded out across our own system, as well as to neighboring stars. The recently discovered TRAPPIST-1 system, along with a handful of other systems, have become the home of humanity’s colonies, though they’ve each developed into separate nation-states.

The number-one enemy of the Sol system’s government maintaining control of their holdings has been communication, since it travels at the speed of light. It’s a logistical nightmare for Sol’s government, and it’s compounded further by the fact that space travel remains an extremely dangerous endeavor. Often times, vessels heading out into the void are never heard from again, while the lucky few to make it to their destinations narrowly avoid their demise through dumb luck or the skill of their crews. Conflict between star systems is rare only because traveling to another system is remarkably dangerous.

The main character, a man in his early thirties and a graduate of the school of archeology, lives in the TRAPPIST system, trying to help his boss keep their university’s archeology and history programs alive. His boss and mentor has burnt all of his bridges and ruined his reputation searching for evidence of alien life, and within months of his research being completely shut down, finally has a breakthrough: he finds evidence of alien life in an uninhabited star system nearby.

He finds a backer for an expedition to the system, who proceeds to gather the resources and personnel to travel there, but at the last minute, the protagonist’s mentor tries to back out of going. The mentor convinces the protagonist to take his place, to which the main character obliges, reluctantly.

And thus begins the story.

I don’t have anything written yet, but Jennifer has been pleading me to begin writing. I don’t really know the best way to start, but I know I need to start somewhere.

What are your thoughts on my idea? Care to pick my brain about it? I could use some brainstorming material.


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Posted by Shelby "Falcon509" Steiner

I'm just a gamer that enjoys talking about my hobbies. I do a little more than that too. I love cooking, grilling, being outdoors, going target shooting, etc.


  1. Hm, well I’m a planner not a pantser writer hehe. The first novel I wrote took a decade before I started writing it. I’d recommend doing an outline and taking down some notes. There has never been a time when I’ve started an outline or notes that it doesn’t get the creative juices flowing and I wind up writing way more than I planned.

    I love this idea btw. Every since I heard about those seven potentially inhabitable planets, my imagination has been all a tizzy.

    Have you figured out the logistics of FTL travel or are you just sticking with light speed (or less)? How far in the future has this been set (500-5000 years)?

    Liked by 2 people


    1. I’m aiming for between 500-1000 years from now, but I haven’t decided about FTL options. I’m tempted to go with something grounded in realism, but I don’t want travel to another star system to take decades.

      Liked by 2 people


      1. I think you’re okay with doing FTL travel and still make it fairly realistic. I mean, that’s still in the realm of science fiction, but legitimate scientists are working on it!

        Liked by 1 person


  2. Interesting! I’m wondering why space travel is so dangerous still, Is there some dark force that hasn’t been discovered yet? Alien technology? What is it that takes skill for the crew to handle if others get by on luck?

    Regarding where to start, I tend to mix between planning and improvising. That is, I usually have at least four scenes in mind. The one that starts the story, the one that ends the story, a very low point in the story, and a very high point (not necessarily the climax) in the story. Of course I have a general idea of the main story line, but I just work on connecting the “dots” of the story. I also usually have a pretty clear picture in my head of each character’s background/motivations, so that helps tailor how the story progresses because I can make decisions based on each character’s traits, background, etc. (a bit like roleplaying in an RPG). Sometimes the story turns in a way that was unexpected, but that’s okay, too! I like watching how my characters will get out of messes haha.

    For instance, in the play I wrote, I had the beginning scene fully formed in my head when I started writing. I also had the “low” scene fully formed: one of the main characters is alone on stage, yelling after her sister and really venting on all the things that have been boiling beneath the surface of their relationship for years. I had the last scene in mind, and one more scene that I had a general idea for, and had a general story line in mind. I do this for my short stories, my fanfics… it’s a formula that works for me!

    Liked by 2 people


    1. In my mind, space travel is about as dangerous in the universe I’m creating for the same reason that ocean travel was so dangerous in the 1100s-1600s. Travelling vast distances, potential of impacts with extra-solar objects, power loss, missing targets, etc. Interstellar spacecraft are functional in design, with a focus on efficiency and safety.

      I have the general plot figured out, but I don’t want to give anything away. Obviously, things don’t go according to plan, so there’s that to look forward to. I also have an idea for a longer story arc, in case I actually have the time and resources to continue the story.

      Liked by 2 people


      1. Very cool! I’d be interested in seeing where you go with this idea! Of course I don’t want you to spoil anything, but now I’m picturing a “traveling to the New World” type of situation… If you ever need another person to bounce ideas off of, you’re always welcome to email me (no pressure – Jennifer is obviously a better go-to than I am!)

        Liked by 1 person


        1. It’s difficult to not just tell people, but I’m holding out on the off chance that I actually finish it someday.

          Like holding in a sneeze.

          Liked by 1 person


          1. I know the feeling! Happy writing 🙂

            Liked by 1 person


  3. ironblood1384 April 3, 2017 at 22:30

    Just start with a scene you want, if you draw a blank keep an extra tab open for outlining your universe and characters, sometimes the outline will help you come up with ideas.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Imtiaz Ahmed April 5, 2017 at 10:57

    I love just thinking about space and how vast it is. It’s mind blowing. I personally can’t get enough of looking up at the stars on a clear night. To think some simple stats like it taking 8 minutes for the sun’s light to reach is is unreal.

    That being said, this sounds really cool. I love the fact that yet these people can’t space travel and inhabit new worlds, it’s still a dangerous endeavour to travel such distances. Says a lot about despite how much we are able to conquer, we are never invincible and their our always going to be forces stronger than we can ever comprehend, which I think sums up space pretty good in my mind. I’d love to see how this turns out.

    Liked by 1 person


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