May the Fourth be with You!

‘May the fourth be with you’ was first used way back in 1979, the day Margaret Thatcher came to power. It headlined a congratulatory advertisement in the London Evening News placed by the Conservative Party.

Since then, May 4th has been adopted as the unofficial birthday of the Star Wars franchise. So I’m going the say Happy Jedi-Day to all you Star Wars fans.

Later this year, 8th September to be precise, it will be the 50th anniversary of Star Trek’s first appearance on TV. And there will be parties, conventions, art shows, you name it to celebrate.

Of course, Britain produced its iconic series in Dr Who – I remember seeing the first episode when it was aired.

Whilst these may be the main three series, there are many others. Each panders to different taste. But all come under the umbrella heading of SCIENCE FICTION.

Why are all these series so successful? At least part of the answer lies with the science fiction community comprising many sub-communities. Each of these may not be as enthusiastic about the other sub-communites, but they are happy to to take an interest and applaud their efforts in an even-handed way.

That was until recently. I must admit I don’t know all the twists and turns of the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies sagas, but I do disagree with them deliberately trying to manipulate the Hugo Awards to push their part of the science fiction genre to the fore. It has brought the Hugo Awards into disrepute and through this, made the science fiction community as a whole look like fools. If this continues, people will walk away from the community, thereby strengthening the hold the Puppies have on the science fiction genre. The whole science fiction community will become more inward looking and dwindle in stature. This is really just basic human nature at play here.

But there is a second issue here. Science fiction thrives on the cross fertilisation of idea.s Each sub-community brings along with it its own take on life and the universe which adds to the pool of science fiction new ideas. Take even one sub-community out of the science fiction arena ends up taking more than its fair share of ideas away.

I know all too well how cross fertilisation works in generating the ideas for my science fiction stories. I’m now sitting on a possible way to make things go faster than speed of light in a vacuum. I’m not talking about Alcubierre’s Drive here. Rather I’m talking about using some add-on physics that is compatible with our real world physics.

No, I would not believe that was possible, except it fits in with so much of our real world set up. Now the speed of light limitation is derived from the electromagnetic equations (if you must know it is:

c = 1 / √ ( ε . μ )

where c is the speed of light, ε is the electric constant and μ is the magnetic constant). I’m not breaking this rule as it stands, just kind of standing a little way off to one side of it metaphorically speaking. Or at least my hypothesis for it is. And it is only a hypothesis at the moment. But I sure can have fun writing some science fiction based on this – even if it is going to be a headache to describe it in simple terms!

And then there is one other interesting point… all progress in science starts with a hypothesis that then goes on to be tested.

After that all I can say is May the Fourth be with You!


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