Replacing the hated “warp drive”

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Steven L Jordan, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    I'm with you on this one, just because it hasn't been done yet doesn't mean it can't be done. People use to think the Sun revolved around the Earth at one time, until science figured out that wasn't the case. Maybe that's a bad example but my point is that just because we haven't figured it out yet does not mean we won't.
     
  2. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    But by contrast, just because we don't know everything doesn't mean that we don't know enough. There is no evidence of a faster-than-light anything out there, and our science is good enough to detect just about every kind of particle that exists. Our science has, however, managed to strike photons with lasers and trigger quantum tunneling, covering a distance faster than light. So, right now, there's more of a scientific likelihood of quantum tunneling than there is of FTL travel.
     
  3. goldhawk

    goldhawk aurea plectro

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    Sorry but entanglement seems to happens instantaneously. Of course, with Relativity, instantaneously may not have any meaning anymore but entanglement shows that our concept of time, and hence the speed of light, do not account for everything we know. In fact, IIRC, your drive involves entanglement, doesn't it?
     
  4. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    It involves entanglement among the particles being transported, thereby preserving their relationships with each other (and making sure those transported arrive alive and well, not as a cloud of atoms).

    This IO9 article mentions some of the technologies we're discussing here.
     
  5. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    If the results are the same, then what is the issue? If you're just being anal about FTL being in fiction my question is why can't you just suspend your beliefs for a moment to enjoy a good yarn? Just for example, adults who have read the Harry Potter series know that the magic in it is completely unrealistic but they can still appreciate the fun of the story.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  6. goldhawk

    goldhawk aurea plectro

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    So? That's just another person's opinion. And there's no guarantee they're correct. For example, Wikipedia states that the Reactionless Drive is impossible, but a teenager has a patent on one.

    I am tired of people claiming something is impossible just because Newton said it was. What we know about time is wrong or entanglement would not happen. It's that simple.
     
  7. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    The only issue is whether you want to be more realistic in your story, to wit: Do the heroes get around in automobiles, or on flying unicorns? (Which isn't a dig on fantasy, just an illustration of the difference between fantasy and science fiction.) Depends on the kind of story you're trying to tell.
     
  8. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Let me know when he's built it.
     
  9. goldhawk

    goldhawk aurea plectro

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    When she builds it, you mean. Of course, if you had actually read the article, you would know that. This is exact the attitude I'm talking about. Since Everyone Knows reactionless drives are impossible, anything about them must be wrong and not worth the time to read about them.

    Also, the article is not correct. It says no fuel is needed. This is wrong. No propellant is needed. A power source, and the fuel for it, are needed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  10. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I don't understand the "HATED" warp drive, OR ANY OTHER DRIVE.

    If the way the author implements the technology affects the story then it is relevant. If it does not affect the story then it is just a means of transportation. I assume there will be no FTL in my lifetime or in the next 100 years so they are all just "sci-fi tropes" to me. I also won't be surprised if there is never any FTL I just won't be here to be surprised or not.

    psik
     
  11. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    So you're talking about your own stories being more realistic. If you're writing must be completely logical and realistic then that's your prerogative. I myself don't mind my fiction to be unrealistic, that's why it is called fiction, it's not real.
     
  12. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Some of you sound surprised, even upset, that a science fiction writer should seek realism in his stories. Do you not think real science fits into a good SF story? Or are you just not into hard SF?
     
  13. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I think we have a bit of a disagreement about "real science". I have not investigated quantum tunneling. But I would not say that we have a "near light speed" drive just because physicists can accelerate particles to near light speed today. Can they get a 10 pound mass to within 1% of light speed?

    So to me all FTL methods of large masses are equally bogus as far as the "science" is concerned. I don't mind your objection to warp drive I just don't understand it. It is just a matter of what the SF writer does with the story that depends on FTL. I do find the "sails" that Weber uses somewhat more bogus than most others methods but his melodrama over Harrington's survivor's guilt is far more annoying than his "sails".

    psik
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  14. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    No, not upset, what bothers me is when readers pick apart a story instead of just allowing themselves to be immersed into the story. I have never allowed myself to be bothered with errors in the science of a story. I allow the story to unfold and flow and most of the time this gives me the ability to enjoy whatever I'm reading. Sure, I've read some real clunkers at times but that is due to the story just being bad or the writing terrible. I'm not putting you down, it just frustrates me that's all.
     
  15. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    The ability to use quantum tunnelling as a form of interstellar travel has not been proven, and may be just as fanciful a form of FTL - which it is, as it allows information to travel between interstellar points faster than nature allows - as warp drive, spacefolding with magic spice or any other method people can think of.

    If you want to see 'true realism' in your SF, than limiting your stories to the solar system alone or simply travelling between stars at slower-than-light speeds, using relativity or generation ships, is the only way to go.
     
  16. livens

    livens Registered User

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    I like real science mixed in to the story. And I also like science that is extrapolated from theoretical physics. Peter Hamilton is great at making FTL via wormholes 'sound' completely feasible and I love it when an author can do that. Hamilton, Reynolds, M. John Harrison... they make me want to believe!

    What I don't like so much is when an author just makes up a physicist and names some engine/system after him/her and doesn't even bother to try and explain how it works. You may has well just have a big red button that the pilot pushes to go wherever in the universe they want. In fact Jerry Oltion did just that in The Getaway Special. But even that doesn't spoil a good story for me.

    Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow almost pushed me to my limit. Not only was the science behind the 'ship' bunk, but almost everything about the tech involved and how it was used was poorly thought out. The ENTIRE crew of a spaceship go to the surface of a new alien planet in the only lander they have and run out of fuel once down there do to pilot error? All because the author needed them all to be stranded on the planet. At that point you just have to ignore it and enjoy the rest of the story.

    For me this entire argument over FTL boils down to the words Science Fiction. Some, like you, believe SF should be a fictional tale using proven science. Others think it can be fictional science as well. And then others still, like me, could care less... we like them both. If the genre was split into 2, one with real science and the other using fictional science I think it would be a non issue.
     
  17. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    There's nothing wrong with "soft" SF, sci-fi, fantasy, whatever you want to call it. If you recheck my original post, you'll see that I've used FTL drives in some of my own stories (and they are some of my most popular). But I also try to write more realistic SF, and when I do, I want all the science to be realistic, based on proven science or extrapolations on current research. Nothing wrong with that, either.

    I didn't intend to start an argument about which is better or more realistic. What I did want was to suggest that concepts like FTL travel may be more romantic than realistic (IOW, we use it, not because we think it works, but because it sounds cool or familiar); and if we have a reasonable reason to suspect that it won't work (my opinion, based on my scientific understanding), then it may be time to abandon those romantic notions and develop new ones. I took the effort to do some research and come up with a more realistic notion around which to base new storytelling romances.

    Obviously, I've done some speculation, which you may or may not agree with, and that's okay, too. I just don't want to see anyone take this thread as a personal affront to their opinions. We are all talking about science fiction, after all.
     
  18. kshRox

    kshRox Registered User

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    Of course it won't work.
    All we currenlty have are theorys.

    And although I like your current take on updating our view concerning space travel, you only replace one set of theories with another.

    Probably the closest fiction approximating real space travel is Carl Sagans work 'Contact'.

    It's all theory, which means that at this point none of it is real in regards to a practical implementation of FTL or inter-dimensional space travel.

    Until we solve some basic problems concerning energy, propellent and mass expansion which we are centuries away from, we aren't going anywhere.

    Now the good news.
    If we look at how technology has increased by leaps and bounds over the past 100 years, instead of a linear progression - who knows what the future may hold.
     
  19. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Yes, it's all theory until someone does it.

    But in fact, the "theories" on which I base my quantum tunneling alternative are based on demonstrated scientific facts and experimentation; whereas FTL travel theories assume the requirement of stellar-level energy and either the mastery of time-warp energy fields or the disproving of Einstein's theories, none of which can be extrapolated from current scientific theories or experimentation.

    IOW, the quantum tunneling theory is simply more likely to be possible, especially with our scientific understanding and expected engineering abilities, than the FTL theory.

    I've also read Contact, but it's been awhile, and I don't remember the nature of his system; I'll have to go back and take a look. (I haven't watched the movie in awhile, either, come to think of it... one of my favorites.)
     
  20. kshRox

    kshRox Registered User

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    Ok, I'm not the sharpest tack in the box, much less in a box full of physics fans. Now that my disclaimer is displayed let me proceed to see if I'm sticking my foot in my mouth or making a valid observation.

    Newtonian physics are as valid today as they were when Newton first wrote them down. Einstein expanded the envrionment of observation which superseded Newtons observations but did not replace or invalidate them. Within the confines of the environment in which they apply, they are still valid, however we know that once we leave this environment, new rules apply.

    Is it possible there are another set of rules waiting for us to discover which do not require we invalidate Einsteins current theories?
    Could the impossible of today be a phenomenon of our current limitations?
    How far fetched are the theories concerning other dimensions and how strict are the conventions which prevent us from interacting with them?