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  #21  
Old Jan 27th 2013, 10:42 PM
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I suppose I should come clean about my ulterior motives in this thread. I am dabbling with the idea of writing a science fiction type novel, so I'm toying with some ideas about space and the potential for space travel over the course of the next half-dozen centuries.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of earth-based society growing ever larger and outwards into the solar system and to the stars beyond. I like to speculate about the relative near-term beginnings of the process, rather than just skip ahead a few thousand years when everything was already invented or established long ago. That being said, I really would like to have space-travel technology for a science fiction novel. I'm just trying to think of the best way to handle the idea of it.

Being the student of history that I am, I'm intrigued by the idea of making up future history for amusement and entertainment - and perhaps the setting of a galactic space novel. So that's the origin of this thread (reading Dune does this to me!).

Anyone got any more ideas?
That's quite a project. My interest in reading science fiction ended when I felt scenarios were becoming redundant. However, any well written escape combining technology, sex, politics, violence and idealism seems to do well in the marketplace.
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  #22  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 05:27 AM
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Michael, have you got the patience to write a novel? The research is only a small part of it. 99% of the text will be of the kind; ""We're nearing our destination." said Captain Zog. Resisting the temptation to say "Isn't that the point of travelling?" Leutenant Farquahar whinced. He couldn't stand Zog's condescending attitude. Farquahar turned up the space ship's heating system, and poured Zog a cup of tea. "2 sugars, Leutenant." said Zog. From the kitchen, came the carrying voice of the cook, Sergeant Fink-Nottle. "We're running out of sugar." Captain Zog retorted "It's all right. There's a fuel station a couple of galaxies from here. We'll be able to pick some up there."
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  #23  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 07:48 AM
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I think that what's more likely to make space travel possible in the short term than engineering that allows near-light-speed or greater-than-light speed travel is longer-lived humans. Scientists have already had success stopping and even reversing the aging process in mice.

There are two variables that we control when it comes to interstellar travel (assuming that distance is fixed and discounting the concept of a "worm-hole" or something along those lines): speed of travel and lifespan. Most people focus on the former, assuming the latter to be fixed. But if humans could live indefinitely, spending a few decades or even centuries traveling to another solar system becomes at least feasible (psychological ramifications of living for centuries and spending decades cooped up in a ship notwithstanding).
That's a good point. But maybe reliable cryogenic freezing technology would be more feasible (and possibly just more advantageous overall) if interstellar travels are going to take decades. Even if I were going to live to 200, I really wouldn't want to spend 10-40 years stuck in a metal box floating through space. I think I'd rather be frozen and just woken up a few months prior to reaching my destination. Freezing would also use up fewer resources en route and thus save space and weight.
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  #24  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: Future Science & Technology

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I suppose I should come clean about my ulterior motives in this thread. I am dabbling with the idea of writing a science fiction type novel, so I'm toying with some ideas about space and the potential for space travel over the course of the next half-dozen centuries.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of earth-based society growing ever larger and outwards into the solar system and to the stars beyond. I like to speculate about the relative near-term beginnings of the process, rather than just skip ahead a few thousand years when everything was already invented or established long ago. That being said, I really would like to have space-travel technology for a science fiction novel. I'm just trying to think of the best way to handle the idea of it.

Being the student of history that I am, I'm intrigued by the idea of making up future history for amusement and entertainment - and perhaps the setting of a galactic space novel. So that's the origin of this thread (reading Dune does this to me!).

Anyone got any more ideas?
Nice.

You could start off by picking some establish 'law of physics' and imagine that we discovered some substance or process that represented an exception to it. Then think through how that discovery would change human technology going forward and, potentially, get us to other planets. Maybe we discover some unknown element on Mars that defies the first law of thermodynamics, or learn that basic physics constants (like the relationship between mass and gravity or inertia) aren't actually constant in the universe but change once you get far enough away from our solar system.
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Old Jan 28th 2013, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Future Science & Technology

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Anyone got any more ideas?
This is an overall thing and not really related to space travel.

Science fiction is usually exploring an idea along with the future science aspect. In Asimov's Robot stories it is the question "what makes a human" (among other things. In the Foundation series it is the idea of psychohistory. Actually, in the Foundation series the psychohistory idea is so important it is almost it's own character. Dune explores the ideas of prescience and politics. So i guess I would say that a really good sci-fi book is not just a Western in space, but explores a concept.
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Old Jan 28th 2013, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Future Science & Technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I suppose I should come clean about my ulterior motives in this thread. I am dabbling with the idea of writing a science fiction type novel, so I'm toying with some ideas about space and the potential for space travel over the course of the next half-dozen centuries.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of earth-based society growing ever larger and outwards into the solar system and to the stars beyond. I like to speculate about the relative near-term beginnings of the process, rather than just skip ahead a few thousand years when everything was already invented or established long ago. That being said, I really would like to have space-travel technology for a science fiction novel. I'm just trying to think of the best way to handle the idea of it.

Being the student of history that I am, I'm intrigued by the idea of making up future history for amusement and entertainment - and perhaps the setting of a galactic space novel. So that's the origin of this thread (reading Dune does this to me!).

Anyone got any more ideas?
Is the goal quality or sales ? When it's the latter it doesn't matter very much what you'd invent.
If you want quality you could be the first to correctly integrate relativity in the plot. Awards guaranteed. Sales... not so much

Have you read a lot of science fiction ? There's mountains of it out there. It's going to be hard to come up with something original with respect to space travel.
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  #27  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Future Science & Technology

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Originally Posted by Non Sequitur View Post
This is an overall thing and not really related to space travel.

Science fiction is usually exploring an idea along with the future science aspect. In Asimov's Robot stories it is the question "what makes a human" (among other things. In the Foundation series it is the idea of psychohistory. Actually, in the Foundation series the psychohistory idea is so important it is almost it's own character. Dune explores the ideas of prescience and politics. So i guess I would say that a really good sci-fi book is not just a Western in space, but explores a concept.
Absolutely. Good science fiction is just literature in a different setting.
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  #28  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 12:57 PM
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Absolutely. Good science fiction is just literature in a different setting.
And I just happen to like the setting better than most literature. Heinlein's Starship Troopers is REALLY cerebral and should almost be a political treatise (the movie is a sin). Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness explores the idea of gender and the characters just happen to be the way that is done. I could go on, but I think the point has been made.

EDIT: in regards to the theory of relativity have you ever read The Forever War? It kind of wrestles with the effects relativity would have on things.
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Last edited by Non Sequitur; Jan 28th 2013 at 01:03 PM.
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  #29  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 01:05 PM
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Heinlein's Starship Troopers is REALLY cerebral and should almost be a political treatise (the movie is a sin)....
I can echo both those sentiments. Excellent book; terrible movie.
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  #30  
Old Jan 28th 2013, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Future Science & Technology

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
Michael, have you got the patience to write a novel? The research is only a small part of it. 99% of the text will be of the kind; ""We're nearing our destination." said Captain Zog. Resisting the temptation to say "Isn't that the point of travelling?" Leutenant Farquahar whinced. He couldn't stand Zog's condescending attitude. Farquahar turned up the space ship's heating system, and poured Zog a cup of tea. "2 sugars, Leutenant." said Zog. From the kitchen, came the carrying voice of the cook, Sergeant Fink-Nottle. "We're running out of sugar." Captain Zog retorted "It's all right. There's a fuel station a couple of galaxies from here. We'll be able to pick some up there."
Oh good - Dan Brown's bull dog is going to give you advice on writing a novel
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