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Writing a story

  1. Feb 10, 2007 #1
    I'm writing a story/novel at the moment and need some info. Can anyone give me a list of current concepts for interplanetary travel?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2007 #2
    Interplanetary? Like within the solar system? Or to different solar systems?

    While I am not very sci-fi savvy (unfortunately), I don't think you can go wrong with wormholes.

    Of course travel at speeds near the speed of light would enable us to travel amazingly far in the period of a life time. It's just a fight against increasing mass really. I don't know the math behind it but I would be interested if someone could estimate how fast in % of C we can feasibly expect to travel in the far future and how much that would slow time down by.

    This might be of interest to you : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_travel
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  4. Feb 10, 2007 #3
    My suggestion would be to try to write something deep. Scifi isn't exactly an innovative area in literature in my opinion.
  5. Feb 10, 2007 #4
    It's a black box. Read the introductions to a lot of science fiction stories, and you'll read that often enough. It's just a story telling device. Some authors (not the better ones) go bananas with it, and others just skim over it. It's de riguer to have something semi-plausible sounding, but that's about the only hurdle you really need to clear.

    There are exceptions like Forward, whose entire stories are usually more about the technology (his stuff actually works) than anything else, but if that was the sort of story you were planning, you wouldn't be asking anyone else to write it for you.
  6. Feb 10, 2007 #5
    I'm nto asking somebody else to write it for me. All I asked was for a list of things that I could pick and choose from, or modify to suit my story's needs.
  7. Feb 10, 2007 #6


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    With or without constraints of reality?

    If we go with current technology - there are the standard chemical propulsion systems or more exotic nuclear systems - nuclear thermal, nuclear electric, controlled fusion (assuming it can be perfected), and nuclear pulsed (aka Orion - thermonuclear detonations).

    Then there are solar sails or solar dynamic systems.

    In the more exotic, still-in-the-conceptual forms are:

    matter-antimatter systems

    and even more exotic are systems based mostly on imagination rather than real physics -

    worm holes and Faster-than-light systems,

    and then time travel or transdimensional or a combination thereof.

    And don't forget your towel. :biggrin:
  8. Feb 10, 2007 #7
    never leave home without it. And I only need realistic tech for the portion of the story that I'm at.
  9. Feb 10, 2007 #8


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    So is this within the Solar System? Going outside requires orders of magnitude more energy to travel in a reasonable amount of time.

    Then there are the difficulties of prolonged absence of a gravitational field and the radiation exposure.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2007
  10. Feb 10, 2007 #9
    Pretty much, my beginning is cliche: the explorers go to another planet (in this case Mars) and find alien technology there. At that point I hope to create new propulsion methods.
  11. Feb 10, 2007 #10
    It's definitely time for the black box approach, then. The characters don't have to understand it, in which case you shouldn't have to describe it. It just works.

    A lot of other science fiction stories use a similar approach. Think of Star Wars. Granted, it's a movie, not a novel, and more space opera than science fiction per se, but people just use the technology without going into detail, much the way most of the population uses cars without being terribly aware of how internal combustion engines work. Larry Niven's Known Space stories work that way as well. He does describes all sorts of limitations about his star drive, but he never once tries to explain how it works. It just works, as far as his characters are concerned. They start the machines, point them in the right direction, and they go.
  12. Feb 10, 2007 #11


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    I concur. If the technology is not going to become an integral part of the story you're trying to tell (as seems to be the case), then let it stay that way - don't waste your readers' time. Describe the technology in a merely perfunctory way - perhaps from the point-of-view of a character who isn't an engineer.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  13. Feb 10, 2007 #12
    You may be interested to know that according to NASA, travel to Mars should be possible within the next 50 years (how accurate I think that prediction is is another story). NASA is also planning to return to the Moon in the very near future. So here are two ideas that are more science fact than fiction.
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