Spaceships and Science fiction

  • #1
537
1
Moderation note: This thread has been split from another so as not to derail the former thread

I have a hard time enjoying Star Wars anymore because of how those spaceships fly around :(
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


I have a hard time enjoying Star Wars anymore because of how those spaceships fly around :(
Not to mention the "pro-democracy" rebels lead by a Princess :uhh:
 
  • #3
537
1


oh, wow, I never even thought about that. That is pretty weird.
 
  • #4
918
61


Very very OFFtopic, but princess was a formal title, like the Queen of England, otherwise she was a senator, later Mon Montha became the leader.

Otherwise yes, it is irritating how Hollywood filmmakers unaware about basic things.
 
  • #5
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


Very very OFFtopic, but princess was a formal title, like the Queen of England
Very, very, very offtopic but the Queen is still the Queen. She is the head of state, head of the armed forces, can open and close parliament and has to ratify any decision made by parliament before it can become law. Admittedly she is the Queen with the least amount of power in the history of England but she isn't totally figurehead.

Lastly IIRC from the latest batch of Star Wars films George Lucas made a bizzare government for (I forget the name of the planet where the first one is based) wherein they have an elected Queen who sits out two terms maximum and abides by a constitution...
 
  • #6
367
3


Otherwise yes, it is irritating how Hollywood filmmakers unaware about basic things.
I dont think we can criticise movie makers here, it would be a bit of a problem if they could only make movies which adhered to known laws of physics, if its sci fi and it knows its sci fi and has no pretence of being anything else then i really dont mind.
 
  • Like
Likes Lren Zvsm
  • #7
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,933
2,423


I dont think we can criticise movie makers here, it would be a bit of a problem if they could only make movies which adhered to known laws of physics, if its sci fi and it knows its sci fi and has no pretence of being anything else then i really dont mind.
Except that Star Wars is not sci-fi. Never claimed to be. It's space fantasy.

(Anyone who thinks that's splitting hairs obviously doesn't care about the lack of science in fantasy stories).
 
  • Like
Likes Lren Zvsm
  • #8
918
61


Well, anyway, I was glad to see that Space Battleship Yamato didnt lack entirely the world sci.
The dogfight in space was just a fly-by with some shooting. :)
The small craft's primary purpose was to determine the exact coordinates of the enemy ship, when they got close, so the battleship could hit it. Well, you cant really hide in space, but i guess it is not that easy to hit a far-away target that you can see well under one arcsecond.
 
  • #9
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,933
2,423


(Anyone who thinks that's splitting hairs obviously doesn't care about the lack of science in fantasy stories).
Upon rereading this, I realize this might have come across derisively. It was not intended to be. It was a knee-jerk reaction to arguments I've had elsewhere.
 
  • #10
367
3


Except that Star Wars is not sci-fi. Never claimed to be. It's space fantasy.

(Anyone who thinks that's splitting hairs obviously doesn't care about the lack of science in fantasy stories).
Yes you are totally right. I am a big fan of fantasy and sci fi and space fantasy (of which there is a LOT in more recent years)

Sci fi in films and books is in decline as we increasingly realise how unlikely anything along them is.
 
  • #11
367
3


I've seen this site before and think it's excellent, especially this section
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/prelimnotes.php#johnslaw

Too many authors don't think through the ramifications of what they propose when they invent a plot device.
I am working through my first novel at the moment - about 9 months in, I wrote a number of short novellas and was happy with them. The problem I am having is how not to fly in the face of modern understanding while not limiting the scope of my story.

I am allowing the ability of FTL (using an avoidance mechanism) and one of my major plot points is causality which is a recurring theme throughout the novel.

Anyways I am not plugging/advertising just noting what Ryan says as important and very difficult for authors - sometimes scientific validity has to be thrown out of the window!
 
  • #12
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


I am working through my first novel at the moment - about 9 months in, I wrote a number of short novellas and was happy with them. The problem I am having is how not to fly in the face of modern understanding while not limiting the scope of my story.

I am allowing the ability of FTL (using an avoidance mechanism) and one of my major plot points is causality which is a recurring theme throughout the novel.

Anyways I am not plugging/advertising just noting what Ryan says as important and very difficult for authors - sometimes scientific validity has to be thrown out of the window!
Best of luck with it :smile: I've always thought that in good SF it's not about what science and technology you allow but how well you deal with the ramifications (as well as good plot, characters etc). It's a real toe stub on my suspension of disbelief when I come across something akin to what was described in the link.

Overall I would say I prefer a score of 3-5 on the Mohs Scale :wink:
 
  • Like
Likes Lren Zvsm
  • #13
918
61


If we talk about books, yes it is kinda hard to write epic storys with nukes, orbital bombardment, robotic armies... :(

Although I think, because of space fantasys, atomic rockets are maybe a little bit biased against fighters.
Maybe in deep space, humans arent needed, okay it is hard to argue, they arent meant for space, but on orbit, where valuable infrastructure and civilans can be found, decision making is needed, and you cant trust entirely remote control.

Also, in Yamato, the battle in the caverns of the enemy planet was beyond the ability of robots and drones i think.

If they can evolve to match human abilities, then with a rebellion scenario, a writer can rule them out.
 
  • #14
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


If they can evolve to match human abilities, then with a rebellion scenario, a writer can rule them out.
That's only if you equate human capability in a specific area with human consciousness, emotion, sense of self/identity, sense of personal liberty, social interaction etc. I'm firmly in the camp of we don't design planes to fly like birds nor cars to travel like quadrupeds and neither do we design intelligent software with the rest of the attributes that the most intelligent thing (us so says us) possesses.

However one could write them off out a story through some relatively simple plot devices such as strongly intelligent software being non-trivial to program, a history of drones being hacked, a history of drones making the odd mistake: "Drone Air Strikes School Bus Thinking It's A Tank!" would be more of a show-stopping headline for drones than it would be for human pilots.
 
  • #15
918
61


Yes.
(I wondered about a situation, where a drone bombs down Washington, because it believes the fireworks is an enemy attack.)

In the new trilogy of SW, the neimods rebelled against the Republic with their drone armies, after such things, there are quite good reasons to enforce Asimov's laws of robotics.
 
  • #16
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


enforce Asimov's laws of robotics.

Au contraire
, Asimov's writings exploring his three (or four if you count the zeroth) laws expressly highlight how and why they don't work. For example in The Naked Sun:
Robots with the three laws are put into spaceships (filled to the brim with weapons) and told that all spaceships are crewed by robots. The plan (which is foiled by the protagonist) is to have millions of robots manufacture fleets of warships, stock them with uneducated bots and send them out to attack others. As far as they know they are obeying the second law to obey any command without breaking the first of harming humans because they don't realise that they are.
Another good example is in Foundation and Earth:
The protagonists are harmed and captured by robots who refuse to recognise them as human as they have been educated to believe that only their masters are human.
Btw I don't mean to be argumentative, just interested in the discussion :smile:
 
Last edited:
  • #17
918
61


About the first one :
the enemy will sooner or later recognise that they use robotic armies against them, and expose it.
Then, it wont be a matter between two planets anymore, it will be a galactic matter, people will be overwhelmed by fear, that the robots can actually kill them, and they will demand immediate action against Solaria. They cant manufacture enough robots to handle every enemy.
 
  • #18
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


About the first one :
the enemy will sooner or later recognise that they use robotic armies against them, and expose it.
Then, it wont be a matter between two planets anymore, it will be a galactic matter, people will be overwhelmed by fear, that the robots can actually kill them, and they will demand immediate action against Solaria. They cant manufacture enough robots to handle every enemy.
True but the advantage Solaria has is ~20,000 robots per person. Their industrial capacity is massive and IIRC:
the plan was to launch a devastating surprise attack with huge fleets of ships assembled in secret by millions of robots working in secret. Solaria could easily accomplish it's goals by sending a ship stocked with factory supplies and robots to a unpopulated systems. The bots build a factory and then use it to build another, those two factories build another two, those four another four...until they have millions of factories each capable of building thousands of ships.
 
  • #19
Integral
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,201
56


I have an old war game called Battlefleet Mars. It has as a strategic map a scaled model of the solar system, earth to Jupiter, with the planets orbits marked off in a manner such that each turn you move each planet to the next mark, so the planets move in a realistic manner, put that is not of interest here. The tactical map consisted of 2 grid sheets one representing the x-y plane, the other the x-z plane. After your fleets arrived at a planet you moved the ships to the tactical map where they then engaged in combat on the 3d grid system, yes, you had to maintain markers on each of the 2 sheets. The point of this post is to comment on just how hard it was to actually engage the opposing fleet. If each player put their fleet in motion towards the enemy they would pass by each other quickly, attempts to slow down and reverse your direction would result in expending all of your fuel (in other words there was a limitation on how much fuel each ship could carry. They had different sized ships which accelerated at a rate determined by the mass of the ship. The fuel limitations make any amount of maneuver nearly impossible.
 
  • #20
918
61


Than the enemy will swarm them with nuclear missiles, if we playing dirty...

But yes, thats why people rather want to read about pilots and space marines who live by the old samurai codex, not robotic armies and nuclear missiles and politicans who order bombings from their nuke-proof bunkers...
Also, a captain who control drone battleships from behind (and mostly he accepts the strategist computer's plans) isnt such a good character.
Theoretically, you can robotize the battleships also.
 
  • #21
DaveC426913
Gold Member
18,933
2,423


Than the enemy will swarm them with nuclear missiles, if we playing dirty...

But yes, thats why people rather want to read about pilots and space marines who live by the old samurai codex, not robotic armies and nuclear missiles and politicans who order bombings from their nuke-proof bunkers...
Also, a captain who control drone battleships from behind (and mostly he accepts the strategist computer's plans) isnt such a good character.
Theoretically, you can robotize the battleships also.
I dunno, Orson Scott Card did a good job. Ender's Game won a Hugo and Nebula.
 
  • #22
367
3


I dunno, Orson Scott Card did a good job. Ender's Game won a Hugo and Nebula.
Enders Game is a fantastic novel in my opinion. I dont feel like Card trivialises any major scientific hurdles (Even with the Ansible allowing FTL communications Card puts a lot down on implications.)

Actually I have read a lot of Card and Enders Game/Speaker for the dead are probably my two favourite novels - however much I liked Bean as a character!
 
  • Like
Likes Lren Zvsm
  • #23
918
61


Well, I havent read it, i would be curious, what made him such a brilliant strategist?
There isnt too much option for trickery in space... or maybe my fantasy isnt the best.
 
  • #24
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
711


At first I found myself enjoying Ender's Game but then I began to dislike it for the simplicity and the farcical nature of it. There is absolutely no situation in which Ender isn't shown as being the morally correct victim even when he massively over-retaliates to the point of killing other children. It bored me because there was nothing in it that wouldn't ooze worship for Ender's pure moral character and I found that as interesting and believable as listening to religious apologetics.
 
  • #25
367
3


Well, I havent read it, i would be curious, what made him such a brilliant strategist?
There isnt too much option for trickery in space... or maybe my fantasy isnt the best.
Strategy in its purest forms is best left to minds and not machines IMO. I just dont think machines will ever be able to make judgements like we can. You would need to read Enders game I think :smile:

At first I found myself enjoying Ender's Game but then I began to dislike it for the simplicity and the farcical nature of it. There is absolutely no situation in which Ender isn't shown as being the morally correct victim even when he massively over-retaliates to the point of killing other children. It bored me because there was nothing in it that wouldn't ooze worship for Ender's pure moral character and I found that as interesting and believable as listening to religious apologetics.
I can appreciate that and it was one of the few criticisms of the novel but there are some major ethical and moral bumps at the end of the novel that wash away much of the moral high ground. Speaker for the Dead is a lot more morally pragmatic and I think it shows as a more mature novel than Enders Game. I read Enders Game when I was around 13/14 so maybe a slightly biased view!
 

Related Threads on Spaceships and Science fiction

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
26
Views
14K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
54
Views
5K
Replies
16
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
10K
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
9K
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
2
Replies
45
Views
13K
Top