"Spacetime Drive" idea for sci-fi series of shorts

  • #1
ShadowKraz
27
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I had an idea about a spacetime drive that *seems* as though it is an FTL drive while trying to outline a plot for a series of sci-fi short stories set in the late 22nd-early 23rd century (possibly later as well).

Instead of working with warping space ala Star Trek or utilizing a hyperdrive to travel through higher dimensions (Asimov and Niven), it uses the curvature of spacetime to identify two points of Time that are:
A) in the objective 'present' - existing at the same temporal distance from the Big Bang and,
B) congruent in the curvature of spacetime.

A means that there is no time travel and so no Grandfather Paradoxes or violation of conservation of mass/energy.

B means that it will not work within a certain distance from a star or star system due to the variability of the gravitational influences changing the curvature of local spacetime. My thinking is that the curvature would not be static enough for the drive's computer system to be able to match the two points long enough for the drive to work. They would not remain congruent. Both end points would need to be the appropriate distance from their respective systems. Conventional physics drives (rockets, etc.) would be needed to get to and from 'flat' spacetime.

There are a lot of possiblities from here: automated freighters, 'bombers', and message capsules (or similar) would be able to transverse from star system to star system at higher velocities than any ships carrying delicate cargo (passengers, settlers, diplomats, animals, plants, etc.). Note I am also assuming, without specifying how they work (yet), constant acceleration spacecraft, 1 g for the 'delicate cargo' ships and whatever I can get away with for the automated ones.

All this also implies that not all the star systems we can easily reach with this drive are in the Milky Way galaxy. It also makes it possible to see how a galaxy or other astronomical object developed after the light that we see it with now was emitted by it, nice test of our theories and hypotheses, but I won't be trying to tackle that.

I'm thinking of calling it the Punctual Drive because that's how my sense of humor works.

What do you folks think? Is it plausible as is or do I need to think some more? Or did I sub-consciously rip off another author's idea?
 
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  • #2
If two points are "congruent" they are at the same position. Your drive doesn't have to work very hard. But it's also of limited utility.
 
  • #3
How is this different plot-wise than a network of wormholes? Would have the same logistics. No one cares about the made-up science other than it has an internal logical consistency and allows for interesting stories. This is the most basic mistake all the wannabe writers make when they post here
 
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  • #4
For some odd reason, writers want their wormhole network (to use @BWV s term) to map on to stars we can see. Why is this even necessary? In most stories, it would work out just fine if you popped out of the wormhole at the scene of your adventure with no earthly idea (literally) as to where this is in relation to Earth. Does this violate SR? How could you tell?
 
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  • #5
Vanadium 50 said:
In most stories, it would work out just fine if you popped out of the wormhole at the scene of your adventure with no earthly idea (literally) as to where this is in relation to Earth.
This is one of the issues I have with most sci-fi wormhole based drives and part of what my overall plot involves; "where the heck are we???"
Also, I may be misunderstanding 'congruent'. AS I understand it, it means that two objects, point, triangles, what have you, can and do occupy the same coordinates...
Wait... I see the issue; I was about to type "the same coordinates in spacetime".
So... temporally congruent but not spatially congruent.
I need to re-think.
 
  • #6
So the story has The Dashing Hero, the Beautiful Girl, the Plucky Sidekick and Doctor Exposition flying off to Planet Zebulon for an adventure. Does it matter in the least weather Planet Zebulon orbits Alpha Mensae or some unknown star in some unknown galaxy?
 
  • #7
Vanadium 50 said:
So the story has The Dashing Hero, the Beautiful Girl, the Plucky Sidekick and Doctor Exposition flying off to Planet Zebulon for an adventure. Does it matter in the least weather Planet Zebulon orbits Alpha Mensae or some unknown star in some unknown galaxy?
Part of my thinking is that it does matter. If it did not matter in any story, why not just have everything happen here on Earth in your living room? Different environments prompt different responses, physically, psychologically, and genetically.

Also, no, I don't have any of those characters; I can read and write well above a high-school level. lol I'm just glad you don't teach.
 
  • #8
ShadowKraz said:
Part of my thinking is that it does matter.
Why?
ShadowKraz said:
why not just have everything happen here on Earth in your living room?
People have written excellent stories set on Earth. But again, why is this necessary? Does Vulcan orbit Tau Ceti or Epsilon Indi? And how does it matter to the story?
ShadowKraz said:
I'm just glad you don't teach.
That's not very nice.
 
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  • #9
ShadowKraz said:
lol I'm just glad you don't teach.
Check your PMs.
 
  • #10
To give you an example where it does matter, i.e. matters to the story, consider Niven's Known Space books. The premise is that pre-FTL a lot of sub-optimal worlds were colonized because that's all that people could reach. The stories are set post-FTL, but of course that didn't improve the planets.

If you want some sort of jump or gate or wormhole drive and don't want it to break SR, I think my solution is fine. You can travel between Earth and Zebulon freely through the wormhole, but you can't create a closed timelike curve because you do not even know where Zebulon is. It may not be in a causally connected part of the universe. It may not even by anywhere in our universe - none of this matters to the story. It's just a device to get to Zebulon.

PS Yes, yes, I know Zebulon is also an Earth place name. I just liked how it sounds.
 
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  • #11
I think the single wormhole thing could be interesting - cant do all space empire cliches if all you have is a transport tube to Zebulon in some galaxy a billion light years away. Someone could write very hard-sci-fi around realistic issues of space travel, exobiology or whatever with just this one bit of magic added
 
  • #12
You mention Niven, per the 'Known Space' bought-in FTL, just don't forget his tag-teams with Pournelle, such as the Mote tales which, in passing, invoke an 'equipotential' drive....
 
  • #13
Could moderator/admin shut this thread down, please? Thank you.
 
  • #14
Nik_2213 said:
You mention Niven, per the 'Known Space' bought-in FTL, just don't forget his tag-teams with Pournelle, such as the Mote tales which, in passing, invoke an 'equipotential' drive....
Was that the one where the Soviet Union and the US jointly developed interstellar travel in like 2013? Always thought JP was such a hack, why did Niven waste his time with him? But come to think about it, Niven has written alot of crap on his own
 
  • #15
BWV said:
one bit of magic
My point is that this one bit of magic does not have to map onto a known star for the story to succeed.

If you want a space empire, just add more of these wormholes. So we don't know where anything is in physical space. It doesn't add to the story, and it can only cause trouble for people who don't like even this one piece of magic.

Any reader who is used to a subway system can understand that close on the network doesn't mean close in real life. For example, on the DC Metro, taking the train from Farragut West to Farragut North takes 16 minutes. Leaving the subway system and walking takes 4.
 
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  • #16
ShadowKraz said:
I had an idea about a spacetime drive that *seems* as though it is an FTL drive while trying to outline a plot for a series of sci-fi short stories set in the late 22nd-early 23rd century (possibly later as well).

Instead of working with warping space ala Star Trek or utilizing a hyperdrive to travel through higher dimensions (Asimov and Niven), it uses the curvature of spacetime to identify two points of Time that are:
A) in the objective 'present' - existing at the same temporal distance from the Big Bang and,
B) congruent in the curvature of spacetime.

A means that there is no time travel and so no Grandfather Paradoxes or violation of conservation of mass/energy.

B means that it will not work within a certain distance from a star or star system due to the variability of the gravitational influences changing the curvature of local spacetime. My thinking is that the curvature would not be static enough for the drive's computer system to be able to match the two points long enough for the drive to work. They would not remain congruent. Both end points would need to be the appropriate distance from their respective systems. Conventional physics drives (rockets, etc.) would be needed to get to and from 'flat' spacetime.

There are a lot of possiblities from here: automated freighters, 'bombers', and message capsules (or similar) would be able to transverse from star system to star system at higher velocities than any ships carrying delicate cargo (passengers, settlers, diplomats, animals, plants, etc.). Note I am also assuming, without specifying how they work (yet), constant acceleration spacecraft, 1 g for the 'delicate cargo' ships and whatever I can get away with for the automated ones.

All this also implies that not all the star systems we can easily reach with this drive are in the Milky Way galaxy. It also makes it possible to see how a galaxy or other astronomical object developed after the light that we see it with now was emitted by it, nice test of our theories and hypotheses, but I won't be trying to tackle that.

I'm thinking of calling it the Punctual Drive because that's how my sense of humor works.

What do you folks think? Is it plausible as is or do I need to think some more? Or did I sub-consciously rip off another author's idea?
OK fractured human... wrong exit off Interway... Like Led Zeppelin "What is and what should never be'..... Re-Enter your embolum ...
 

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