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CS Lewis and Gravity

  1. Sep 10, 2015 #1
    CS Lewis didn't really get the gravity thing. In a spaceship the astronauts are attracted to the center of the ship, enough so that they seem to have fairly normal gravity. When they get close to a planet this is screwed up and they have a hard time keeping their balance.

    The hero at first mistakes the Earth for the Moon. He can tell they are different though because the Earth is larger.
     
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  3. Sep 10, 2015 #2

    jedishrfu

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    Can you give us some context here?

    What book or story of CS Lewis had this gravity confusion thing?
     
  4. Sep 10, 2015 #3
    Out of the Silent Planet
     
  5. Sep 10, 2015 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Okay, I haven't read that book.

    This is not uncommon where the rules of reality are bent to make better stories.

    In college, we studied several great sci-fi authors with the two profs one an English Lit ripping the poor character development and the other a Physicist ripping the science got me so depressed I couldn't read another sci-fi novel for at least ten years.

    Some of the authors we discussed were Larry Niven's Ringworld and Heinlein's Starship Trooper stories. Niven's story scored well in the science aspect but still had some problems.

    I remember folks wondering about how a Ringworld could be built and how stable it would be. Larry Niven to his credit, factored the criticism into his future novels.
     
  6. Sep 11, 2015 #5
    How Starship Trooper ruined science?
    ON: that Gravity seems lame to me...
     
  7. Sep 11, 2015 #6

    jedishrfu

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    Many of the stories were ripped apart due to character development. So many characters were simply names on cardboard in a beautiful or not so beautiful alien landscape.
     
  8. Sep 11, 2015 #7

    HallsofIvy

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    This was not simply a situation "where the rules of reality are bent to make better stories." C.S. Lewis really believed that, as the rocket ship moved toward the moon, the people would feel less and less "gravitational" force toward the earth until they reached the point where the gravity of the earth and moon "balanced", then would be attracted toward the part of the rocket ship closer to the moon.

    Of Course, "Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength" were really "science fiction" books. They were, rather, Christian allegories. C.S. Lewis did not know much physics and was not really concerned about scientific accuracy.
     
  9. Sep 11, 2015 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    Jules Verne got it wrong too in De la terre à la lune.
     
  10. Sep 11, 2015 #9
    Isnt it possible, if the ship is going on a straight line instead of an orbital path?
     
  11. Sep 12, 2015 #10

    HallsofIvy

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    No, it is not! In order to get the ship to go in a straight path, given the gravitational pulls of the earth and moon, you would have to have some very complicated accelerations that would cause some very complicated "pseudo gravitational" effects in the ship.
     
  12. Feb 7, 2016 #11
    Having just stumbled into this thread, I've not yet blown the dust off my fragile paperback edition of 'The Silent Planet'. But I do well recall my puzzlement from long ago concerning the gravity issue. Was CS Lewis aware of his lack of understanding about gravity, I wonder? Or did he consider it a non-issue in the first place? On the other hand I remember enjoying the way he handled the atmosphere of Mars and how its varying density affected the various Martian species - I can't at present recall their names. It may not have been accurate, but it certainly left a vivid impression upon me at the time.
     
  13. Feb 8, 2016 #12

    HallsofIvy

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    C. S. Lewis did NOT write "science fiction". He wrote religious allegory sometimes clothed in a science fiction robe. He really did not know enough science to write science fiction.
     
  14. Feb 8, 2016 #13
    Since when is more than superficial knowledge of any subject a requirement to write fiction about it?
     
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