Science fiction inventor with physics question

  • #36
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,917
719
See that's where I wanted to go with this. All I really was looking for is the possibility of using ice as a starship hull. I didn't want to have to justify how the ice ship moved through space. For that I was going to use simple physics numbers to say it has a superfusion engine with spacetime compressors that allow the ship to go through more densities of spacetime than it normally would in any given moment in uncompressed spacetime. That I already had worked out.
A few tips;
  • When choosing technobabble terminology be wary of the words you choose. You've got to take into account both the consternation of people educated in the field and boredom of those who aren't (in other words watch out for terms like spacetime density compression that may irk scientists for being nonsense and bore laypeople for being innacessable).

  • Watch out for over-explaning. Mystery is a great asset in story telling, it brings a sense of depth to the setting and allows the reader to fill in some of the blanks themselves (as well as hook them for more).

  • Be consistent with your plot devices. Science fiction and fantasy are hotbeds for imagination and innovation, readers are going to be thinking of different ways the technology presented could be used. If they come accross an obvious use that is ignored (especially if it is a solution to an obstacle the characters must overcome) they will feel the world is broken. Generic example; if the setting includes the good-guy fleet outnumbered by the bad-guy fleet but also includes self replicating machines or very advanced autonomy/robotics/AI people will wonder why the protaginists are for some reason lacking in industry/numbers.

  • Be intelligent with the ramifications of your plot devices. As I mentioned in the previous point there are obvious economical and industrial considerations for advanced autonomy. Good science fiction explores the ramifications of speculative science/technology (e.g. addressing unemployment, technosocialism, post-industrial economics, Jevons paradox etc in an increasingly automated society), it does not just use it to prop up a plot.
 
  • #37
jim hardy
Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,847
4,891
Exactly. The best science fiction is about people, not machines.

agreed... my all-time favorite science fiction short story was this simple one
where the spceship is an assemblage of kurmudgeonly living organisms each with its own personality. The author poked fun at our foibles, and probably at bureaucracy. It was written aboout the same time as 'Parkinson's Law'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specialist_(short_story [Broken])
https://sites.google.com/a/depauw.edu/robert-sheckley/-the-specialist
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #38
85
0
Again you misinterpret me; I'm not writing a novel or choosing plot devices I'm inventing things for people who play tabletop roleplaying games, such as battletech, star trek space combat simulator, star wars the role playing game, etc... All of which can get pretty inventive if you want to have a fun game. That's why I made the Ice ship. I figure an Imperial cruiser could have a time of firing turbolaser batteries at the Ice ship before destroying it. anyways I'm done with the idea now and am moving on to turning a rotating asteroid into an electrical power generator but then that would be another discussion.
 
  • #39
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,917
719
Again you misinterpret me; I'm not writing a novel or choosing plot devices
I know you're not writing a novel but the points stand for any science fiction media (and others who may read this thread later who may be writing could benefit too).
 
  • #40
85
0
Oohhh, gotcha Ryan_m_b!
 

Related Threads on Science fiction inventor with physics question

Replies
21
Views
9K
Replies
10
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
61
Views
16K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
3K
Top