Summer Glau curse?

Romulan: I am a clone of you, Picard!

Picard: Oh noes, he is a clone! That means I is am capable of being bad evil man!

Romulan: It's a good think the writers of this movie don't know jack about science or cloning, or we'd have to stop this plot right now!

Picard: Leave me alone! Go give Riker a pointless fight scene or something so he can pretend he's not old and fat! *sniffle*
:lol:

Fair enough. I will admit that I am one of the few people who actually likes that movie. :D

"Nemesis" is #10, though. I don't think "Abrams'" version counts as #11, since it does not take place in the same Universe. It's a new #1, I think.
 
I'd like to see a hard sci-fi show about a team that explores our own solar system.

Faster-than-light travel is not possible. This isn't a limitation of technology, it's a basic fact about the very geometry of space itself.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Doesn't "sci-fi" stand for science fiction?

It seems to me that basic facts of science are not needed in
fiction. I'm not saying it wouldn't be interesting to see a story
about team that explores our own solar system; only that it
wouldn't fit into sci-fi. Could a team actually explore our own
solar system? In a story, of course. We currently have a team
exploring our own solar system and it takes decades. That
Mars rover launched a few days ago won't reach its planet
until August. Not quite as interesting as the fiction of sci-fi in
my opinion.

Mogul - is Trek really dead? The last movie made close to
$500,000,000 (with DVD) and the second one is being cast
now. Paramount has set a release date already. Ever been
to a ST convention? It seems to me ST is alive and well.
 
Doesn't "sci-fi" stand for science fiction?
Yes. Yes it does. :)


It seems to me that basic facts of science are not needed in
fiction.
Those stories are simply called "fiction". Star Trek and Star Wars I would classify as "science fantasy" because they treat technology as "magic".

True science fiction tends to stick closer to reality. While those stories can take liberties with technology ("we've discovered a way to do X!", or "we've found the math for doing Y!") that doesn't strictly fall into the realm of possibility, real sci-fi follows the implications of those things existing. Fantasy generally does not.

For example, Star Trek and Star Wars both have faster-than-light travel. Neither deal with the serious implications that would result from this kind of technology:

  1. It breaks causality. If you'd like me to do a basic writeup as to why, I understand this just well enough to give you an explanation that wouldn't just be a bunch of handwaving.
  2. Engines with that much power result in "planet crackers" -- anyone with access to that kind of engine could easily destroy an entire planet simply by aiming an engine at a planet from a large distance and letting it go, and this is going to seriously alter the cultures that survive in a universe where this is possible.
  3. The very structure of spacetime has to be altered or added to, and this means that brand new physics has to be created which is going to have technological and cultural effects on a large scale.

Science Fantasy doesn't really deal with the fallout of having technology be equivalent to magic; it's merely used as a plot convenience. This is why stories like Dune are much closer to Science Fiction -- there's some serious "magic" going on, but the capabilities that the technology results in have massive effects in the world the story takes place in.

Hard Science Fiction is science fiction that strictly follows our understanding of the physical laws of the universe. These stories are much more rare because for some reason, most hard sci-fi writers have a troubling time not writing boring, ponderous stories under these restrictions. It's weird because other genres, like mystery writers, don't have any problems at all and they don't go breaking the laws of physics.

Hard Sci-Fi books generally have done a much better job being entertaining compared to what few hard sci-fi movies exist. The genre is just not taken seriously and we usually get crap. Or worse, boring crap. Take a look at "Sunshine" -- this starts out as a hard sci-fi story that suddenly devolves into a really bad sci-fantasy with a bit of not-so-scary horror mixed in. They follow physics so closely for a lot of the film that it's really jarring when they suddenly throw all that out the window.

The only recent-ish good hard-sci-fi movie I can think of off the top of my head at the moment is Gattaca.

Could a team actually explore our own
solar system? In a story, of course. We currently have a team
exploring our own solar system and it takes decades. That
Mars rover launched a few days ago won't reach its planet
until August. Not quite as interesting as the fiction of sci-fi in
my opinion.
You're limiting yourself to our currently woefully-underfunded space program. It takes that long because NASA doesn't have a military-sized budget to create truly-efficient and powerful space vehicles. This isn't a technology problem, it's a political and logistical issue.

The original Enterprise was on a seven-year mission. You could easily set that in our solar system with nuclear ion engines and real space physics. Outer-space is such an unforgiving environment that is so vastly different than our planet-bound, gravity-filled, atmosphere-surrounded existence that there are a ton of stories you could tell. It makes me angry that no one is trying. Argh. Rar. Grr.

I am currently 87 pages (or so) into writing my own hard sci-fi script. I only push the limits of known physics in a tiny few places, and I'm not pushing that hard. If you read the script, you'd miss most of them, and the one big thing you'd latch onto as "not possible" is actually "very possible, and possibly probable". :) I did my research.

If you're curious, I could send you the incomplete script if you'd like to see what I consider good and entertaining "hard sci-fi" that actually follows the known laws of physics.

Wow. Manifesto! See, this is what happens when you get me on a rant. :)
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I love a good rant!

If you're curious, I could send you the incomplete script if you'd like to see what I consider good and entertaining "hard sci-fi" that actually follows the known laws of physics.
I'd love to read the finished script. Ping me when it's done.
 
I love a good rant!


I'd love to read the finished script. Ping me when it's done.
That's... going to be a few months (at the very least). If you want to wait that long, okay. I was offering up the incomplete script because it's got the first two acts mostly in place and would serve as a useable example of good hard sci-fi.
 
Ah, the sliding scale of science fiction "hardness"! Trek is a little harder than Star Wars (which is a dragon away from being straight up fantasy), and I think they DID address warp drive futzing up reality at one point (my girlfriend was telling me; she's way more into Trek than I am, except DS9 on which we agree).

Me, I like it all. I've enjoyed novels by John E. Stith and Neal Stephenson (not always hard and not always sci-fi, but he does like to show his math!) I love Farscape, which is pretty damn squishy, and Firefly, which makes more concessions but doesn't get too bogged down in it. I agree that sci-fi set in our solar system is a great idea (2001 and Outland come to mind, though the latter is more set in space than a sci-fi story), and best of luck with your screenplay!

The outdated term "speculative fiction" is probably a better one though.
 
Y'know, I'm actually looking for some objective critiques of what I have so far in my hard-sci-fi screenplay attempt, so I'm attaching what I have so far to this message. (I've had my head so deep into this story that I'm having great difficulty objectively reviewing my own work.)

So if any of you are curious as to what I consider a "good" hard sci-fi story, check this out. 99.99% of everything follows the known laws of physics, and the few places where I push that a little you probably won't even notice. Anything that appears to be a major violation of the universe as we know it is actually possible. That's the fun part. :)
 

Attachments

Argh. No. This is BAD SCIENCE JOURNALISM.

What's happening here is that a pulse appears to travel faster than light (due to the group velocity effect), but it's not. It's an illusion and you cannot use this to send information faster than light.

When this article first hit, a physicist made a very good flash app (I can't seem to find it at the moment) that showed what was really going on. Nothing's really going faster than light, and this is why I hate bad science journalism. It gives people a completely wrong view of the universe, and of science itself.

Angry now. :P
 
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A better example would be the OPERA neutrino experiments, of which they've gotten the same results several times now. There's a lot of discussion about the validity of that, and we won't see results from another facility until mid 2012. Either way, the point is not that what we know now is wrong, it's that we don't know all there is to know. FTL travel is impossible given our understanding of four dimensional space. I also get annoyed by bad science journalism (the OPERA results were followed by "ha ha einstein was wrong!" and "relativity doesn't work" comments in otherwise respectable news sources. uuurrrrgh).

Halfway through your script now; I'm enjoying it. Reminds me, in tone, of Warren Ellis' "Orbiter" graphic novel (though that got really squishy near the end), which if you haven't read, you ought to. Good stuff!
 
A better example would be the OPERA neutrino experiments, of which they've gotten the same results several times now. There's a lot of discussion about the validity of that, and we won't see results from another facility until mid 2012. Either way, the point is not that what we know now is wrong, it's that we don't know all there is to know.
Here's the thing: if neutrinos can travel faster than light then we would have already noticed this from supernova explosions. Instead, what we see is neutrinos traveling at slightly less than the speed of light. I'll wager real money that the FTL neutrino measurement is just a timing error. A 60 nanosecond discrepancy is a very short period of time and easily within the realm of "we just didn't do the measurement properly".


Halfway through your script now; I'm enjoying it. Reminds me, in tone, of Warren Ellis' "Orbiter" graphic novel (though that got really squishy near the end), which if you haven't read, you ought to. Good stuff!
Glad you like it so far. :) I'll check out "Orbiter" when I'm done with the Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars trilogy.
 
Here's the thing: if neutrinos can travel faster than light then we would have already noticed this from supernova explosions. Instead, what we see is neutrinos traveling at slightly less than the speed of light. I'll wager real money that the FTL neutrino measurement is just a timing error. A 60 nanosecond discrepancy is a very short period of time and easily within the realm of "we just didn't do the measurement properly".
Reminded me of this.
 
Here's the thing: if neutrinos can travel faster than light then we would have already noticed this from supernova explosions. Instead, what we see is neutrinos traveling at slightly less than the speed of light. I'll wager real money that the FTL neutrino measurement is just a timing error. A 60 nanosecond discrepancy is a very short period of time and easily within the realm of "we just didn't do the measurement properly".
I get where you're coming from, the default skeptical position. And, yeah, it's definitely far within the margin for human error (which is why they keep testing, and getting other people to test, etc). On the other hand, your argument is not quite logically sound. We see neutrinos traveling at less than the speed of light, after traveling thousands if not millions of light years through space. By your reasoning that means that they CAN'T move faster.

The OPERA experiment is saying that they CAN move faster, not that they naturally do, and definitely not that they USUALLY do. Add to that potential time lags (neutrinos arriving today, slowed down to near light speed, as a result of a supernova we might not otherwise sense for another, say, 5 years). Saying that something isn't possible because we haven't seen it, while good for confirming scientific results, is assuming that we already know everything. Advances happen somewhere in between.

It's like the time traveler argument: if time travel could ever be possible, why haven't we met a time traveler? The simple reason is this: if time travel is possible, those with the ability are a hell of a lot more advanced than we are, and could keep themselves from being known as a time traveler.

The point of all of this is that we're living in a pretty exciting time. Lots of questions are being asked. We're constantly developing new tech that asks almost as many questions as it answers. And that is awesome.
 
The point of all of this is that we're living in a pretty exciting time. Lots of questions are being asked. We're constantly developing new tech that asks almost as many questions as it answers. And that is awesome.
I agree.

Directorik, the latest ST may have made lots of money, but that's only because it's a reboot. The previous one failed, even though it was an even-numbered one, LOL. I think the reboot was an attempt to revive a dying franchise, and that can only go so far. But we'll have to see how the next one does - it's even numbered, so, if it doesn't do well ...
 
I agree.

Directorik, the latest ST may have made lots of money, but that's only because it's a reboot. The previous one failed, even though it was an even-numbered one, LOL. I think the reboot was an attempt to revive a dying franchise, and that can only go so far. But we'll have to see how the next one does - it's even numbered, so, if it doesn't do well ...
You are obviously not a Trekkie. The series is alive and well. :D
 
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