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  1. #91
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Never liked the "folding space" concept myself: Tearing open portals that magically bridged the distances between two points always seemed too convenient for words. (Much like hyperspace! )

  2. #92
    SF Author SR_Seldon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Never liked the "folding space" concept myself: Tearing open portals that magically bridged the distances between two points always seemed too convenient for words. (Much like hyperspace! )
    Um... the information I have on how Herbert and Asimov both described the process is almost identical to the more detailed and modern version you mentioned you came up with on another thread. I believe Herbert specified that the mechanism for folding space was quantum mechanics. Asimov never got so detailed with what he labeled hyperspace, but both involve suddenly being someplace else, no holes, no movement, no portals, just lots of intense calculations.

    Now, that differs greatly from what the 1984 movie and the SFC mini-series offered up for how folding space works in the Dune universe. Those were both glammed up and dumbed down.

  3. #93
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    All methods are just so much hand waving. It is just a matter of how detailed and complicated the writer wants to make the hand waving. Until we can do it or figure out with a high degree of certainty that it cannot be done, it is just a device to move the story forward.

    The galaxy is big and other stars are far away. The author must either come up with some "fantasy physics" and technology to get there or not write stories about it. I haven't heard to many people complaining about David Weber's "Washauski(sp) sails" and his method is about the most bizarre that I know of.

    psik

  4. #94
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    If a ship was traveling FTL, no light or other particles should be able to interact with it, outside of those directly in front of it, without becoming severely dopplered... and the light or particles couldn't catch up from behind. Therefore, an FTL ship should be totally blind to anything happening behind it, and tunnel-blind to anything happening ahead of it. And, of course, by the time they detect anything ahead of it, it would be behind them before the signal even made it through the ship's electronics, much less through the human passenger's optic nerves.
    So this is why in well organised and regulated universe the major interstellar space lanes have bloody big mirrors posted along them facing back the way. Any FTL ship approaching would then be able to see events that happened a long time ago in the 'space' they crossed seconds before. This, of course, will be of no use to anyone at all but, I imagine, would be rather pretty and would give the passengers something to talk about.

  5. #95
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    So this is why in well organised and regulated universe the major interstellar space lanes have bloody big mirrors posted along them facing back the way. Any FTL ship approaching would then be able to see events that happened a long time ago in the 'space' they crossed seconds before. This, of course, will be of no use to anyone at all but, I imagine, would be rather pretty and would give the passengers something to talk about.
    ...

    ...I like it.

  6. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    From the list:

    If a ship was traveling FTL, no light or other particles should be able to interact with it, outside of those directly in front of it, without becoming severely dopplered... and the light or particles couldn't catch up from behind. Therefore, an FTL ship should be totally blind to anything happening behind it, and tunnel-blind to anything happening ahead of it. And, of course, by the time they detect anything ahead of it, it would be behind them before the signal even made it through the ship's electronics, much less through the human passenger's optic nerves.
    The laws of physics are written in what I call a minimalist mode i.e. they describe exactly what happens and no more - so they can't describe what we can't yet perceive. It doesn't stop these minimalist laws being correct. Nor does it stop laws that behave exactly like the minimalist laws in our known universe with extensions of the laws in as yet unknown ares of the universe. If you are up to it, examine gauge theory in electromagnets... this is where I tiptoe away...

  7. #97
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    The laws of physics are written in what I call a minimalist mode i.e. they describe exactly what happens and no more - so they can't describe what we can't yet perceive. It doesn't stop these minimalist laws being correct. Nor does it stop laws that behave exactly like the minimalist laws in our known universe with extensions of the laws in as yet unknown ares of the universe.
    In terms of SF, this sounds a lot like saying: "The universe is not all understood, and our corner of it isn't the same as all the others; therefore, the laws we want to exist must exist out there somewhere." IOW, somewhere in the universe, anything is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    If you are up to it, examine gauge theory in electromagnets... this is where I tiptoe away...
    Dammit, Spock, I'm a writer, not a quantum physicist! What does all that gaugey-mathy-wathy stuff have to do with space travel myths?

  8. #98
    SF Author SR_Seldon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    In terms of SF, this sounds a lot like saying: "The universe is not all understood, and our corner of it isn't the same as all the others; therefore, the laws we want to exist must exist out there somewhere." IOW, somewhere in the universe, anything is possible.
    Yeah, I have a problem with this. If you are going to hypothesize some alteration to physics (such as a far fetched theoretical theory turning out to be true), you need to make it consistent across the board. All the corners of the universe should be the same. I mean, even black holes behave themselves.

  9. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    In terms of SF, this sounds a lot like saying: "The universe is not all understood, and our corner of it isn't the same as all the others; therefore, the laws we want to exist must exist out there somewhere." IOW, somewhere in the universe, anything is possible.

    Not quite... the laws have to be self-consistent... and if I can be Spockish (note new invented word here!) what I'm saying is we know the laws in the space we have experienced. however we have not experienced all space... in that space we have not experienced, the laws could be different from what we know because a condition may apply there that doesn't apply in our known space. However the different conditions are not in themselves incompatible and can exist alongside each other. Simples really.

    Dammit, Spock, I'm a writer, not a quantum physicist! What does all that gaugey-mathy-wathy stuff have to do with space travel myths?
    Sorry to be even more Spockish... Gauge theory is not quantum mechanics, but derivations of laws of electromagnetism.

    Now I don't expect 'normal' science fiction writers to have this depth of knowledge... just to explain their universe in simple terms to the ordinary man in the street. In many cases this is done by noting cause and effect of the laws of physics... you don't have to explain the theory.

    However, your prod does lead me to note one thing... hard science relies on the science in the story being correct (as far as the science is known at the time of writing) and woe betide any such science fiction writer who gets it wrong. Could this be one reason why there is a lack of hard science writers these days?

  10. #100
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    However, your prod does lead me to note one thing... hard science relies on the science in the story being correct (as far as the science is known at the time of writing) and woe betide any such science fiction writer who gets it wrong. Could this be one reason why there is a lack of hard science writers these days?
    Well, insofar as quantum physics has become more familiar (as a concept, if not in fact) to the public and to SF readers, it clearly raises a pretty daunting bar for any hard SF writer who wants to attempt it.

    On the other hand, not all science is quantum mechanics; other areas can be explored that are just as hard, but more down-to-Earth than quantum theory. But maybe hard SF writers don't want to write in those other areas.

    Hard to say.

  11. #101
    Registered User Sillak's Avatar
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    Not exactly

    1. Faster Than Light Travel

    A lot of science fiction doesn't necessary use faster than light travel. Star Trek's warped speed is folding space around you, thus decreasing the distance between two points. The Enterprise doesn't actually go faster than light.

    And from the tidbits I've heard, folding space is plausible. Don't know if you need two giant protruding cylinders to do it though.

  12. #102
    Registered User mylinar's Avatar
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    Another myth not mentioned

    In the anti-FTL world it seems to be a given that we can develop 'cold sleep' or one of its many names. This serves as a way to avoid the paradoxes (or hand waving) of faster than light travel.

    However there seems to be absolutly no science backing this up other than the fact that Bears and other mammals can hibernate. It is a long stretch from a few months of being curled up in a cave and emerging at the edge of starvation and something that would last decades or centuries.

    I guess you could say this falls into the extrapolation from existing reality but it is a real large one in my book.

  13. #103
    SF Author SR_Seldon's Avatar
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    The science exists for maintaining life functions at a reduced levels using cold, near freezing temperatures. Currently anything that takes the body to freezing or below is purely speculative as science has yet to come up with a way to prevent ice crystals and preserve tissue so the body can be resuscitated. So some form of hibernation or cold sleep is possible, but any sort of freezing or suspended animation, where the bodily functions truly cease, is confined to Soft SF.

  14. #104
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Bears cannot control the environment or do intravenous feeding. 3 months asleep and one month awake with 300 year lifespans with 20% lightspeed would be like 12.5 years of life to travel 10 light years. Not much of a 300 year lifespan. But it would actually take 50 years.

    I would expect that life extension within the next 200 years.

    So we could end up with human civilization expanding 10 light years every 1000 years considering the time to colonize and populate a planet.

    But that might not make for interesting science fiction stories.

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 9th, 2012 at 02:24 PM.

  15. #105

    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by mylinar View Post
    In the anti-FTL world it seems to be a given that we can develop 'cold sleep' or one of its many names. This serves as a way to avoid the paradoxes (or hand waving) of faster than light travel.
    There is another way to travel between the stars... without FTL, using the universe folding back on itself or having to go for a long sleep or being transmitted as information and built back up at your destination... and yes I've had a short story published using this method and how to make it work... but will anyone listen me? Nah!

    So I'm afraid you're stuck with FTL, folding universes, long sleeps and being transmitted as information.

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