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Reality check on SF action scenes

  1. Sep 15, 2016 #1
    People are free to post here their ideas and watched scenes involving SF actions, whether they can be realistic or not.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2016 #2
    My first question, i plan to write an episode, where a character try to escape from her pursuiters, who turned much of the systems of the city against her.
    She ride into a cargo tube, i think that is a maglev train line. Could that zap her, or could the magnets hold her motorcycle? Probably only the engines are metallic, the structure can be 3d printed from other materials.
  4. Sep 15, 2016 #3
    If you want her to get away you could have the cycle made of "advanced plastics and ceramics", not significantly magnetic. The magnets are meant to move the cargo along, the bad guys would have to alter that so that they are all "on" at the same time. This could cause a traffic snarl in the system.
  5. Sep 16, 2016 #4
    Next one.

    "The vacuum posed further threat to the wounded man's condition. Although no aorta has been hit by the shrapnels, due to lack of exterior pressure, the blood sprinkled from him.
    In order to avoid such consequences, ships during battle were filled with nitrogen, no fire, no fear of vacuum until the hull didnt get too much damage, and an oxygen bottle could save someone from drowning.
    The doctor quickly injected a serum, that slowed down the circulatory system, than cauterised the wounds, and sealed the holes of the vacuum suit with metallic foam."

    (The middle sentence is a rather good or bad way of information giving about the world? To the doctor, the wounded man isnt that important, she try to save an enemy soldier.)
  6. Sep 16, 2016 #5
    If you have the crew fight in space suits the whole ship could be in vacuum. This would prevent explosive decompression of the ship if the hull is penetrated. (The ship would be "hulled" in that scenario, nautical term.) Casually mention them hooking into the ship's air supply piping after checking that their personal air tanks are full and ready to use.

    Military ships allow for some narration, you have the information broadcast to the crew, and the captain could update them on the battle when necessary. (Watch "The Enemy Below" for a good example of this.)
  7. Sep 16, 2016 #6
    Dont they overrate decompression? Lasers rather make small holes on the hull (although they scatter in the distance and hit a larger area... but i think, most likely they have the energy density to breach, when the ships get closer to each other, at the distance, the main goal is to damage the big laser focusing equipment of the other ship, and the crew try to restore that damage), if a missile happen to hit, the ship is as good as gone.
    Well there can be vacuum, the question is, how much it aggravates wounds?

    Enemy Below, ok. :) I expect that on the pirate ship everyone knows the job, when the story begins, although another character will have a military drill.
  8. Sep 16, 2016 #7
    If you watch naval movies that are realistic you'll hear announcements of all kinds routinely. It's how the ship's crew stay on the same page. "Kamikaze inbound port quarter!" would alert not only the guns crews, but the teams below decks who are charged with repairing battle damage on the fly.

    As for pressurization battle damage, a large hole would release the pressure in a compartment quicker than a small hole, but the small hole would act as a nozzle, making the escaping air act like rocket exhaust. How much that would affect the fighting characteristics of the ship is up to you.

    The effect of vacuum on a wound may or may not be positive. The blood would foam as dissolved gases in the blood boil off, and this may make the blood dry faster. It would be less obvious how badly the person is bleeding, I think. I'm not sure if the low pressure outside the wound would accelerate the blood loss or if it would promote clogging as the blood dried.
  9. Sep 19, 2016 #8
    Well, i guess vacuum is fine, lasers dont create shrapnels, so wounds are unlikely, but air leaks can cause further trouble.

    I wonder what people could wear on the spaceship and asteroid belt?


    That sounds good, but how much it protects against micrometeors and radiation without lots of metal?
    Maybe only if at least thin air is present, like on Mars? Or put a liquid metal armor above it? (lots of small bags filled with mercury? or heavy water would be enough?)
  10. Oct 2, 2016 #9


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    Post SF scenes for realism? Great idea!

    I’m writing a serial about a super powered protagonist similar to Superman—flight, invulnerability, fly and move at super speeds and super strength. Super powers, of course, are not even remotely compatible with physical laws, but I would like to have his interactions with his physical milieu be close to reality.

    He was an ordinary human male, but was transformed into this super entity. Long story. Plus I should mention that he’s just a few years out of high school and no Einstein. Shortly after this transformation, he was flying over African jungle (haven’t decided the exact location yet), checking out his transvection skills, when he notices a couple of families, local people, in dense brush. Maybe hunting food? However, out of their sight in the flora is a pride of lions, including babies. The adult lions have noticed the people and have surrounded them. Protective because of their young, they appear to be on the verge of attacking the defenseless humans. So, super guy to the rescue.

    What does he do? I have this idea that he would use his super speed to befuddle the cats and maybe put the “fear of God” into them; to instill a healthy fear of humans, so to speak. At the same time do no harm to the animals.

    He lands amongst the lions, which are on the verge of ambushing the unsuspecting Africans. Maybe half a dozen lionesses and a male. I imagine that the cats would be startled and turn on him, thinking of a quick, easy snack, and/or defense of their young. Which is what he wants—forget about the other humans, etc. So first the male or alpha female charge.

    The super decides to use his super speed and reflexes to dodge the jump/charge and it quickly escalates into a complex dance involving him and a half dozen lions attacking at the same time. His idea is to dodge them until their exhaustion and they give up. Wondering what the hell is this hairless beast? ;)

    The protag is capable of movement and flight at up to 0.5c. He has clothing, a wet-suit affair, which can withstand movement in atmosphere up to mach 5 (another long story). I have him decide to keep his movements below the speed of sound, say no more than ~290 m/s. Too fast for any animal to react to, I’m guessing. Maybe he throws in a few shoves that send the animal tumbling, to drill into their beastly heads how strong he is.

    I’m not sure how to get this down in prose. Maybe have him wait for the lion to get within a foot or so in his attack leap, then drop to his haunches at 600 mph and the lion claws and bites at thin air. Two lions jump at him at the same time and collide when he zips airborne above their heads and out of leaping range, etc.

    Moving and dodging at high subsonic speeds—plausible against one of the quickest of the animal kingdom? Or is this idea lame?

    On second thought, he could break the sound barrier in one of his moves and scare the whole pride into flight. Would a small body like his make a boom loud enough to do so?
  11. Oct 3, 2016 #10
    I fail to see why it were epic that someone with this superpowers overcome a few lions. He could dodge bullets.
  12. Oct 3, 2016 #11


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    I just wanted to start off with something small and personal and let the character work his way up to the "epic" rung of the ladder.
  13. Oct 11, 2016 #12
    That superman could dodge easily any lion attack, kill one with a single hit, if speed up, and i guess the animals would be quickly scared, i dont think that fight worth more than a few lines.
  14. Nov 3, 2016 #13
    Just watched 3d episode of Dark Matter. They were binded with a wire, and they got loose by shock the wire multiple times.
    Does that makes any sense?
  15. Dec 23, 2016 #14


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    I’m writing a WIP SF novel, and have a few paragraphs about an alien who is observing, from afar, a cosmic domain wall traverse its way through a large spiral galaxy. What little I know about these walls is from some old usenet posts and Wikipedia :). Apparently they’re topological defects, a boundary between two neighboring “domains”. Domains with different symmetries, whatever that means. Different constants of physics?

    As I understand it, it’s controversial whether the wall would be bright—radiating all kinds of exotic particles that carry away the difference in zero point energy between one side and the other, or dark, or even have mirror-like qualities, which I depict to the right of the unfortunate galaxy. That is, I used both the bright and mirror characteristics. I read where it would have negative energy density/be gravitationally repulsive, which I tried to show by the warping of the galactic disc. Unfortunately for this particular galaxy, the walls are on the move, at near light speeds. And they are extremely destructive to boot, as can be seen by the warpage. Viewed from the planet on the left, this particular wall, yottaparsecs wide and long, covers half a hemisphere (?) and is exceedingly bright, but also has mirror-like qualities. But, since the galaxy is about 100,000 light years in extent, it'll take that many years for the wall to consume it, giving any advanced life forms an out. If they can do so, of course. And if the wall doesn't suddenly change its course and reverse its direction of travel.

    Anything grievously wrong or impossible? :wink:
  16. Dec 23, 2016 #15


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    nitpick: the escaping gas would act like a rocket exhaust regardless of how large or small the hole is.

    If all 10 tons of air escapes over 5 minutes, or over 2 seconds, it will still impart the same velocity on the ship.

    That being said, a small hole would be better, because:
    1] There would be much greater chance to stop it before all 10 tons has escaped, and
    2] it would accelerate the ship over a longer duration (5m as opposed to 2s), meaning virtually no shear strain on the ships' structure.
    3] They could compensate easier for a smaller acc.
  17. Dec 23, 2016 #16


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    What wire? What shock?
  18. Dec 23, 2016 #17


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    It's fantasy. It can work however you like.
  19. Dec 25, 2016 #18


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    Just curious... if a bright wall (like in my drawing) was to extend many observable universes in both dimensions, would it cover half the sky if you were a couple hundred thousand light years away, as in the pic? Considering expansion of space and finite light speed? Right forum?
  20. Dec 25, 2016 #19


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    I'm not sure but it does make me wonder how crispy one might get if one entire half of the sky were bright as the sun.
    It's sure that a mere couple hundred thousand light years distance would not be nearly enough.

    Here's the crazy thing: even a billion light years away, the wall will still fill exactly half the sky and will appear just as bright as if you were a mere one light year away.

    Infinitely expansive objects have a way of throwing our expectations out the window.
  21. Dec 28, 2016 #20
    Two heroes were tied with a metallic rope and tortured by a shocker.
    Then they get the shocker, and kept shock the metal rope, until they could get out of it.
    I just wondered, whether its total nonsense, that electricity could affect a wire in such way?
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