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  1. #1
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    10 Myths about Space Travel that make SF better

    I await psik's response with interest... the title isn't mine, btw, but io9's:

    http://io9.com/5936924/10-myths-abou...fiction-better

    In short, the 10 are:

    1. Faster Than Light Travel
    2. You can have artificial gravity without spinning the ship.
    3. You can stop and start without worrying about inertia.
    4. Ships traveling at faster than light can communicate with other ships or planets.
    5. Objects in space are bunched together.
    6. You can communicate with aliens.
    7. Ray guns can actually disintegrate someone.
    8. Cheap energy is readily available.
    9. You can travel at the speed of light and no time passes elsewhere.
    10. You can travel in space without dying of radiation sickness.

    What do we think? And are there any others that should be included?

    Mark
    Last edited by Hobbit; August 22nd, 2012 at 02:00 PM.
    Mark

  2. #2
    Registered User JimF's Avatar
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    I like the sounds of explosions in space and the way X-wing fighters swoop like they are in an atmosphere rather than pivoting.

  3. #3
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Yes: sound in vacuum/space!

    Comparing spaceships in most recent films with 2001: A Space Odyssey, I was reminded of this.

    Mark
    Mark

  4. #4
    Registered User gainespost's Avatar
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    You can fit a big fat hunk of hollow metal through a wormhole and a) come out the other side in one piece, and b) accurately predict where that will be.

    And related: You can actually stabilise a wormhole long enough to do this.

    I think it has something to do with eating enough anti-parasite cat food before you launch. Or something.

  5. #5
    Physics should never, ever get in the way of a fun story.

  6. #6
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Time travel. 'Nuff said.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JimF View Post
    I like the sounds of explosions in space and the way X-wing fighters swoop like they are in an atmosphere rather than pivoting.
    Not just the sounds, but the fires and flames in a vaccuum . . .

  8. #8
    Zero gravity for prolonged periods has no ill effects

    It does, in reality. Your bones will fall apart.

  9. #9
    I have a problem with number six. If humans can learn to communicate with people from different and cultural and language groups without any real aid, why couldn't something similar happen? Assuming they have human like thought there would be some similarities. How many might depend on the type of animal they evolved from, but still... It would not be the most likely thing, but if human encountered another primate species it would certainly be easier. However that is also uncertain.

  10. #10
    Registered User Pennarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riothamus View Post
    I have a problem with number six. If humans can learn to communicate with people from different and cultural and language groups without any real aid, why couldn't something similar happen? Assuming they have human like thought there would be some similarities. How many might depend on the type of animal they evolved from, but still... It would not be the most likely thing, but if human encountered another primate species it would certainly be easier. However that is also uncertain.
    Well, the greatest bull' in all of SF - and this is debateful - is life in the universe having anything in common with Earth's. DNA, perhaps, but there are other coding molecules, and non-coding schemes. Chromosomes, no. Cells, possible. Organs, not obligatory...bodies might be made out of undifferentiated tissue with locally-changing properties. Five senses, unlikely...more like a bunch of new senses. Communication, not even necessary. This line of thought can go on and on, widening the gulf.
    I believe we'd all feel better on a rational level if alien life were depicted more realistically than most of what we've experienced in SF stories in print and moving picture media up to date, but on the other end it would make for less comprehensible life, more difficult to relate to, more difficult to imagine. In short more work for an author, artist, screenwriter, and consumer.

    Good examples of weird life is Greg Bear's Legacy for its Lamarkian life and Moving Mars for its mother cysts, Brian Stableford's Dark Ararat, and David Brin's New Uplift Trilogy for its hydrogen-based lifeforms.

  11. #11
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riothamus View Post
    I have a problem with number six. If humans can learn to communicate with people from different and cultural and language groups without any real aid, why couldn't something similar happen? Assuming they have human like thought there would be some similarities. How many might depend on the type of animal they evolved from, but still... It would not be the most likely thing, but if human encountered another primate species it would certainly be easier. However that is also uncertain.
    Humans not only have a shared culture based on the world they live on, they have physiological similarities that allow them to make the same sounds with their mouths, hear the same sounds with their ears, see the same thing with their eyes, etc.

    An alien from a completely different planetary environment may not make sounds, because they may not have vocal cords. Maybe they flash colored and pulsed light to communicate. Maybe their ears are only designed to interpret the rhythm of a sound wave, as opposed to the frequency. And maybe they have an organ that sends out and receives olfactory data. Or maybe they communicate by touching. Tentacles. To their partner's sex organs.

    There are too many possibilities for communications to assume aliens will communicate as we do, or that their language will share the cultural similarities that form the basis of our understanding other languages. Assuming an alien species will be anything remotely like us is highly unlikely to impossible.

    And I'll remind that we cannot communicate directly with any animal on this planet (save primates to whom we have taught sign language). If we can't manage that with creatures that share a common planetary culture and comparable sensory organs, how can we hope to do it with aliens?
    Last edited by Steven L Jordan; August 23rd, 2012 at 07:34 AM.

  12. #12
    Too many books to read... Siberian's Avatar
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    2. You can have artificial gravity without spinning the ship.
    Gravity is not in any way caused by spinning, it has to do with mass (think Moon and tides). In fact, spinning ships would be a scifi myth.

  13. #13

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Siberian View Post
    Gravity is not in any way caused by spinning, it has to do with mass (think Moon and tides). In fact, spinning ships would be a scifi myth.
    You are right - it's centrifugal force giving the impression of gravity. Yes gravity is caused by mass. I might be wrong here, but the sub-atomic particles tachyons are directly responsible for gravity. if we could separate those out and find a way to control them, then we could have 'designer' gravity

  14. #14
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    You are right - it's centrifugal force giving the impression of gravity.
    As can be simply demonstrated using a bucket full of water and a rope.

  15. #15
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    As can be simply demonstrated using a bucket full of water and a rope.
    Except there's no such thing as centrifugal force. It's a convenient fiction...

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