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  1. #1
    Registered User Mike0101010101's Avatar
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    Good Sci-Fi books with NEWTONIAN SPACE TRAVEL recommendations

    Hi,

    I am looking for a couple of good Sci-Fi books/book series where the space travel is done as much as realistically possible.
    By realistically I mean using Newtonian physics for space travel, spaceship fighting, orbital approaches and so on.
    No FTL travel, no quantum stuff, no wormholes, no warp drives.

    Your recommendations will be really appreciated.

    Also, if there are any Sci-Fi new generation authors that got a raw, rough, violent, crude storytelling style like GRRM (ASOIAF), Steven Erikson (Malazan) and so, I would also like to have some recommendations on them.

    If there are sci-fi new generation books that got both the Newtonian Physics and GRRM like storytelling, that would be paradise, lol.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    interesting.. i would really like to read something that has rather realistic space travel.. anyone has come across such books? please share!!

  3. #3
    A chuffing heffalump Chuffalump's Avatar
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    Paul McAuley's Quiet War series.

  4. #4
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Outcasts of Heaven Belt by Joan D. Vinge

    http://www.rattlesnake.com/notions/outcasts.html

    Antares Trilogy by Michael McCollum

    http://www.cybermage.se/antares-dawn...m-book-review/
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...ntares_Passage
    http://www.scifi-az.com/antares_victory_reviews.htm

    It has wormholes called folded space nodes but these stories have pretty good Newtonian physics for the ships when they aren't doing the interstellar jumps. McCollum is an aerospace engineer.

    psik

  5. #5
    Registered User Mike0101010101's Avatar
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    Thanks Chuff and Psik, I gonna check them out. Folded space nodes are something that is even possible as far as Relativity goes, so no problem on that. But, the thing that I would really love is something like REALLY realistic, kinda like what Joseph Shoer gets in his articles about the real physics of space battles. I know that would be somehow boring for people that love star wars "dog fights", but the concept of huge spaceships, with not but armor and cannons, "jousting" in space, is something that really entices me.

    How about sci-fi crude and rude like GRRM? Are there any good books like that? Blood, fire, rape, huge battles, grayish characters (not good or evil), betrayal, more betrayal, peevish women rulers that decide to eliminate whole civilizations, with excruciating pain and suffering, just because they got upset as their incestuous brothers don't want to sleep with them anymore, evil wizards/scientists that like to burn and torture people just for the fun of it, and create walking dead zombie monsters that will come back from the dead to kill people they think are guilt, or just kill innocent people for the sake of it. Oh, and don't forget, when you start to like a character they get killed with a terrible and very painful kind of death. You know, the usual goodies.

  6. #6
    Registered User Mike0101010101's Avatar
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    hmm, let me correct myself: if a folded space is a relativity possibility, that kinda of folded space node McCollum describes is somehow very impossible without some really huge quantum allowance. Just got some excerpts of his books. But, anyhow, I really like his descriptions of the spaceships and the way they move when under real universe physics (when not quantum jumping around... exactly as you said). Thanks again, Psik.

  7. #7
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    If it was 100% realistic, there wouldn't be much fighting. Because you've still go to get your spacecraft off the ground and into orbit and that's really expensive. So you're hardly going to put them in jeopardy by acting as if they're warships.

    Having said that, there are sf novels that do treat space travel realistically, such as Al Reynold's Blue Remembered Earth, Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 (and his earlier Mars trilogy, of course), the stories in Rocket Science, Steve Baxter's Titan and Voyage, Geoffrey Landis' Mars Crossing, Robert Zubrin's First Landing...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ian_sales View Post
    If it was 100% realistic, there wouldn't be much fighting. Because you've still go to get your spacecraft off the ground and into orbit and that's really expensive. So you're hardly going to put them in jeopardy by acting as if they're warships.

    Having said that, there are sf novels that do treat space travel realistically, such as Al Reynold's Blue Remembered Earth, Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 (and his earlier Mars trilogy, of course), the stories in Rocket Science, Steve Baxter's Titan and Voyage, Geoffrey Landis' Mars Crossing, Robert Zubrin's First Landing...
    hm... there's the up and coming Skylon project that will make gaining Low Earth orbit easier and less expensive from about 2020 onwards. Therefore the population in space is likely to grow - slow at first, but after that...

    As for the fighting aspect - it depends what you are fighting over... after all the Chinese did destroy a satellite from the ground not so long ago...

    As for realistic space travel... yes the novels you mention are all good extrapolations of today's space travel, but I have a nasty suspicion that something new will come along... no, make that I'm sure something new will come along. Ah well, back to that new spaceship story for me... what have I invented... naturally, if I get the story published, I'll let you good people know on the self-promo skein.

  9. #9
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    We may discover more effective means of getting about the Solar System but I don't think we'll ever break the light barrier. And until we build an orbital elevator, our access to orbit will be dictated by the rocket equation. What we know of the universe so far doesn't hint at any neat fixes or back-door solutions. We may not know everything, but our theories pretty much explain everything and have have been repeatedly tested. There's no secret area of physics we have yet to discover, nor any way to bend and twist what we do know so that it does the exact opposite, like anti-gravity...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ian_sales View Post
    We may discover more effective means of getting about the Solar System but I don't think we'll ever break the light barrier. And until we build an orbital elevator, our access to orbit will be dictated by the rocket equation. What we know of the universe so far doesn't hint at any neat fixes or back-door solutions. We may not know everything, but our theories pretty much explain everything and have have been repeatedly tested. There's no secret area of physics we have yet to discover, nor any way to bend and twist what we do know so that it does the exact opposite, like anti-gravity...
    If you imagine a cat with all 4 paws splayed out on the floor and wondering how it got there, then you can imagine what I'm feeling like at the moment....

    Skylon is only part rocket - it's also part air breathing engine, which takes it a fair way up before it changes to using rocket technology. This is tech that's definitely going to happen now they've proved the engine cooling works.

    Space elevators - yes they are another way into space and there are plans actively being pursued by the Japanese to build one within 50 years. This is almost certainly going to happen.

    Then there's the kind of balloon concept that has been suggested through the British Interplanetary Society as being more cost effective than the conventional space elevators.

    I'm always a little wary of saying something is impossible... the theories explain a lot, but not everything. There are gaps at the edges of what we know. Filling those gaps may lead to FTL travel (e.g. looking beyond General Relativity etc). I also wish to keep an open mind on FTL travel until the laws of thermodynamics can be reconciled with the rest of physics. Also remember at the start of the 1900s, the physicists of the day thought the Michelson-Morley experiment (precursor to relativity) would one day be explained, but the were less sure of turbulence. That turned out to be true with an awful lot more work still required on turbulence. I'm not saying we definitely will be able to travel FTL, but nobody has convinced me it's a closed door. If anything, over time, I feel that door is gradually been opening.

    Phew! I think I had better stop there...

  11. #11
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    Skylon's air-breathing engine may make it slightly cheaper to operate, but it's still governed by the rocket equation. And there's not much we can do to chemical rockets to improve their power. The most efficient fuels are also the most dangerous to handle, and there's a fixed limit to the amount of energy you can get out of any two chemicals reacting.

    There are not many gaps in what we know. We know the bulk of the universe is made up of dark energy and dark matter and we don't know what that actually is, but the maths works and seems to explain reality. Who says the laws of thermodynamics can't be reconciled with the rest of physics? Like Newtonian physics, they depend on your frame of reference, and cosmological entropy has been mathematically proven to work with relativity.

    FTL is science fiction and I suspect it will always be science fiction. We are an accident of chemistry, so the universe is under no obligation to make things easy for us. If, as seems likely, there is life elsewhere in the universe, why can we find no evidence of it? Are we the only intelligent life to have ever arise in fifteen billion years? If FTL were possible, wouldn't you expect to find life flitting about the place? The light speed barrier, of course, does not necessarily mean there is no life elsewhere, nor should it prevent some evidence being visible. But a universe in which unimaginable distances create insurmountable barriers makes our situation regarding the Fermi Paradox more understandable.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ian_sales View Post
    Skylon's air-breathing engine may make it slightly cheaper to operate, but it's still governed by the rocket equation. And there's not much we can do to chemical rockets to improve their power. The most efficient fuels are also the most dangerous to handle, and there's a fixed limit to the amount of energy you can get out of any two chemicals reacting.

    There are not many gaps in what we know. We know the bulk of the universe is made up of dark energy and dark matter and we don't know what that actually is, but the maths works and seems to explain reality. Who says the laws of thermodynamics can't be reconciled with the rest of physics? Like Newtonian physics, they depend on your frame of reference, and cosmological entropy has been mathematically proven to work with relativity.

    FTL is science fiction and I suspect it will always be science fiction. We are an accident of chemistry, so the universe is under no obligation to make things easy for us. If, as seems likely, there is life elsewhere in the universe, why can we find no evidence of it? Are we the only intelligent life to have ever arise in fifteen billion years? If FTL were possible, wouldn't you expect to find life flitting about the place? The light speed barrier, of course, does not necessarily mean there is no life elsewhere, nor should it prevent some evidence being visible. But a universe in which unimaginable distances create insurmountable barriers makes our situation regarding the Fermi Paradox more understandable.
    I agree Skylon is limited by the rocket equation - over that part of the trajectory that relies on the rockets. The point about the air-breathing engine is that it doesn't have to carry the oxygen fuel on that part of the journey, which in turn allows Skylon to have a greater payload. it's not going to a bit cheaper - it's going to be a significant amount cheaper.

    The trouble with science is we don't know what we don't know. We know there are parts of science we don't know, but who's to say that once we've sorted them out, that there won't be other things to discover? After all we thought we had is sussed with Newton's work... then we thought we had it sussed with Einstein's work...

    Dionysius Lardner said Brunel couldn't build steamships that worked... others said the sound barrier couldn't be broken... now the great barrier of our time is the speed of light... we need to either break it or prove it can't be done... otherwise we'll always be trying to break the barrier.

    As for using the argument that aliens haven't contacted us because of the lack of FTL travel... sorry don't buy it. Why? because there may be a myriad of other reasons why they haven't. And yes some science fiction stories have touched on possible whys... including Alastair Reynolds with those annihilating black cubes or (and I can't remember where I read this) we have to reach a certain maturity before we are contacted.

  13. #13
    A chuffing heffalump Chuffalump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike0101010101 View Post
    How about sci-fi crude and rude like GRRM? Are there any good books like that? Blood, fire, rape, huge battles, grayish characters (not good or evil), betrayal, more betrayal, peevish women rulers that decide to eliminate whole civilizations, with excruciating pain and suffering, just because they got upset as their incestuous brothers don't want to sleep with them anymore, evil wizards/scientists that like to burn and torture people just for the fun of it, and create walking dead zombie monsters that will come back from the dead to kill people they think are guilt, or just kill innocent people for the sake of it. Oh, and don't forget, when you start to like a character they get killed with a terrible and very painful kind of death. You know, the usual goodies.
    Stephen Donaldson's Gap series. Not Empire scale but definitely very grey characters.

  14. #14
    Registered User ian_sales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    Dionysius Lardner said Brunel couldn't build steamships that worked... others said the sound barrier couldn't be broken... now the great barrier of our time is the speed of light... we need to either break it or prove it can't be done... otherwise we'll always be trying to break the barrier.
    Those were limits imposed by our abilities, not by the nature of reality. We knew things could travel faster than the speed of sound - bullets did it all the time. But we didn't have the powerplants or the materials science to build a plane that could do it - until the 1930s. The light barrier is a part of the fabric of reality. To go past it we would have to rewrite reality, or at the very least bend it profoundly. Either method is going to take hideously huge amounts of energy. And Alcubierre's Warp Drive, for example, has been calculated to take more energy than exists in the universe.

    Also, our understanding of the universe now is a great deal more sophisticated than it was back when Brunel was alive. Pundits of the past once loudly proclaimed that humans would never be able to fly. But birds did, and still do. So clearly flying is possible. But nothing goes faster than the speed of light - and that's not just observation, that's from the maths which we use to describe reality.

  15. #15
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian_sales View Post
    Those were limits imposed by our abilities, not by the nature of reality. We knew things could travel faster than the speed of sound - bullets did it all the time. But we didn't have the powerplants or the materials science to build a plane that could do it - until the 1930s. The light barrier is a part of the fabric of reality. To go past it we would have to rewrite reality, or at the very least bend it profoundly. Either method is going to take hideously huge amounts of energy. And Alcubierre's Warp Drive, for example, has been calculated to take more energy than exists in the universe.

    Also, our understanding of the universe now is a great deal more sophisticated than it was back when Brunel was alive. Pundits of the past once loudly proclaimed that humans would never be able to fly. But birds did, and still do. So clearly flying is possible. But nothing goes faster than the speed of light - and that's not just observation, that's from the maths which we use to describe reality.
    Reality does not do math or give a damn about reality. I consider that the peculiar thing about European thinking. This goes back to the Greeks. Math is sacred and more important than reality.

    It was not discovered until 10 years ago that the rate at which the universe is expanding is increasing. If there is anything travelling faster than light could we detect it. I am not saying it is possible I am simply willing to admit we don't know at this time and there is still unknown physics out there.

    psik

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