Friday, July 19, 2013

More Realistic Space Travel for a Brighter SciFi Future

I've mentioned numerous times (though not enough for them to give me money, apparently) that I'm a reader of Their articles tend to be well (or at least amusingly) written, they give lots of links, there are pictures. I don't watch the videos, or look at the fan photo things. No, I look at the list posts. In the past, has also filled this sort of "fascination niche" for me.

Though I'm not currently writing any kind of SciFi space offering, I intend to one of these days. I sort of did, for the NaNo of 2008. I'm pleased with parts of it, though not really the scale, and it's hung on enough of an Atlas Shrugged framework that the Ayn Rand institute would not appreciate my homage, I daresay.  What does this have to do with Cracked? Well, they have articles on space, as one might imagine. One in particular that caught my attention and my writerly focus is 6 Reasons Space Travel Will Always Suck. In science fiction, the concerns this article brings up aren't typically addressed, with few notable exceptions. The Cold Equations is one of them.

Also  (and I'm surprised at myself that I didn't talk about this here at the time. I meant to, certainly), I'm probably one of the only people in the world who, when they saw Chris Hadfield's "Space Oddity" cover, wondered if he smuggled that guitar onboard because I knew weight was such an issue with packing for space (though it occurs to me as well that I read Mary Roach's Packing for Mars, in which I'm sure she addressed these rules and their more recent changes). On December 16, 1965, the guys in the Gemini 6   in Earth's Orbit played "Jingle Bells" on their contraband sleighbells and teeny tiny harmonica, which you can see in this Smithsonian article.

Another Cracked article is the 6 Weirdest Dangers of Space Travel, including things like static electricity and being unable to stop. Less glamorous aspects of the Space Opera, certainly, and by "less glamorous" I mean "nobody in Star Wars once had a problem getting zapped by a random thing they touched." Or, for fun, draw your own comparison.

So, while Science Fiction I write is still going to be far more fictional than sciencey (that's just the way it goes), I'm still a big fan of using enough factual material to lend reality to the story I'm building. It's easier to suspend one's disbelief if there are facts in the mix; it makes the falsehoods a less bitter pill to swallow.

I'm still pretty sure I'll leave out the unicorns, though.