Writers of hard science fiction, that most rigorously realistic of the genre’s subdivisions, pride themselves on their unwavering commitment to scientific accuracy and adherence to the known laws and facts of the physical universe in their stories, yet they find themselves making a necessary exception for one of the most significant of all its invariants. Since the Theory of Special Relativity has established that nothing can move faster than the speed of light, which has only been further buttressed by experiment and observation, the practitioners of hard science are forced to bend their own principles slightly whenever their stories go beyond our own Solar System. Fortunately, the Great Einstein giveth as much as he taketh away, and the many fascinating predictions and outcomes of both Special and General Relativity have provided the “loopholes” many writers are looking for in trying to explain how their characters can traverse such great distances. In some instances, the stories are specifically about faster-than-light travel itself; the brand-new Christopher Nolan film INTERSTELLAR follows a well-worn path to the stars that science fiction writers have traveled many times before, attempting to explain how FTL or the “warp drive” in terms that are consistent with current scientific knowledge, and using it as a platform for both the stories and themes. Continue reading “Countdown to Interstellar: The Warp Drive in Hard Science Fiction….3….Poul Anderson”
After seeing the Europa Report (I thought it was a fantastic film), I believe we are seeing the future on two fronts.
The SciFi Front:
This film was an indie project. It was well written and acted. The special affects was neat and showed how hard space travel can be. It show one thing and it showed that good SciFi can be good without warp speed, aliens and shooting people up.
Traditional SciFi can be boring. How much shoot em up types can you show? How many actors with plastic foreheads can people tolerate?
What the Europa shows that with a good story, a show or movie like The Europa Report can succeed.
The Space Exploration Front:
On the space exploration front, I believe that deep space exploration will not be done by Governments, but by private industry. With budgets bursting around the world, space exploration will not be a priority. Private industry will take up the slack. It will happen when they do it themselves or by forming partnerships with different companies or with various Governments.
Will it be good or bad who knows.