Categorising science fiction space travel ideas

16 05 2014

Following on from my last post, I thought I would make a start at categorising science fiction ideas by putting together an overarching framework  for space travel. Below, with thanks to NASA for the pictures, is a start. I’m sure you can think of stories that has each of space travel methods mentioned.

 

 

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This is only a start… I feel there must be loads more to put into this diagram. Also I’ve put the words in a colour code – green the physics is definitely feasible, orange for there are already hints that it might be possible and red for extremely unlikely, but you never know type. There are gaps in the diagram, probably more due to my lack of knowledge than anything else. Any hints as what might be included would be gratefully received… But even if I have missed some space travel ideas, the amount of white space in the diagram still has me puzzled… there shouldn’t be so much. Have science fiction writers of the past let us down? Have they just waved a magic wand and said hey presto we’ve moved from A to B. Come on, let’s see what we can do to fill this picture…

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15 responses

16 05 2014
James Pailly

You could add hyperspace to the “within galaxy” and “above light speed” box. Still, there’s a lot of untapped possibilities on this chart.

17 05 2014
rosieoliver

Hello James,
Welcome to my blog. Thank you for the spot. I’ve added hyperspace into the chart.
You’re right – there’s still a lot of untapped possibilities. It’s left me wondering where the heck they are and why they are missing. I’m sure some of it is due to my ignorance, but not this much!

18 05 2014
Joseph Nebus

The most memorable, to me, intergalactic travel method was in Blish’s Cities in Flight, where the spindizzy drive was hooked up (among other things) to a whole planet, sent off in the direction of the Lesser Magellanic Cloud (and later turned around and brought back!). It may not be practical but wow is it captivating.

18 05 2014
rosieoliver

Welcome Joseph,
Thanks for the spot – I have edited it into the graphic.
I also notice that the first in the ‘Cities in Flight’ series was originally entitled ‘Year 2018′. I wonder if they (the publishers) will bring out a special edition then?

18 05 2014
justmoo33

What about using gravity of a body to slingshot? Sorry, still local!

20 05 2014
rosieoliver

Yes – actually used in the Voyager 1 and 2 trajectories! Can’t remember any instances of it being used in science fiction though… do you have any pointers?

22 05 2014
justmoo33

No, sorry – I was thinking reality!

22 05 2014
rosieoliver

I’m sure there must be stories with gravitational slingshots in (I’ve actually got one subbed at the moment with a conventional slingshot trajectory hidden away as mere background detail!) So I’ve added it in regardless. Disappointed nobody seems to have done a story with the modified Alcubierre drive (the feasible FTL drive for those not familiar with what we’re talking about!)

18 05 2014
justmoo33

In my favourite book of all time, the Bizzard Ramjet was used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_World_Out_of_Time

20 05 2014
rosieoliver

Hello Justmoo and welcome… definitely a good spot and have included it in the table. Many thanks.

22 05 2014
justmoo33

Yo, Rosie, it’s me, Justine ;) been off for a bit and quiet on the SF Forge. I really must change my WP user name!

22 05 2014
justmoo33

…and I can’t spell Buzzard!

22 05 2014
rosieoliver

Hello Justine, I knew it was you… just some people are circumspect about giving their full name, so I tend to default to being circumspect. Been rather busy myself which is why I haven’t moseying around the SF Forge. Hopefully once this month ids over, things will settle down… but I keep saying that, don’t I?

19 05 2014
Brits into Space… You Bet! | Rosie Oliver

[…] sooner do I put a science fiction categorisation of space travel ideas, then announcements about the Brits going into space seem to be coming thick and […]

25 05 2014
justmoo33

Hi Rosie – Ah, I see. My I’d is a little obscure, to say the least. I’ll look out for you on SF Forge soon :)

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