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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:26 am
by ffutures
Disembodied wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:21 pm
I can't think of any more FTL solar sails, but a laser-pumped one is used in Robert Forward's Rocheworld, AKA The Flight of the Dragonfly.
And that's #5 - over to you

The one I was hinting at was the weird version seen in A. Bertram Chandler's Commander Grimes novels, which gets up very close to light speed then does something stupid like firing the boosters to break the light barrier. As a result the ship completes its journey very fast, and also gets converted to antimatter - which is a good thing since some of the Rim Worlds of this universe are made of the stuff, it's the only way to visit them. You do it again to get turned back to ordinary matter on the return journey.

Believe it or not, this is safer than both of the previous FTL drives - the early one had a habit of ending up in entirely the wrong solar system then burning out, hence numerous lost colonies, the later one messed around with time so badly that Grimes got to visit various parallel worlds, the past, and the future. It just wasn't popular because of the whole antimatter thing.

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:51 am
by Disembodied
OK, another five: let's have five trains - by which I mean a linked sequence of vehicles running on a track - in science fiction. I'm not looking for Thomas the Tank Engine in Space or anything here: just five examples of trains in SF stories (books, short stories, TV, film, games, etc.), where the train is a significant location or plot point. Usual rules: one per author/universe, etc.

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:47 am
by Cody
The train on Schar's World?

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:42 pm
by Disembodied
Cody wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:47 am
The train on Schar's World?
Very much a yes on that! It was the first one I thought of.

Here's an animation someone made at their art school of a scene in the train tunnels from Consider Phlebas:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC6sJ-Ysb2Y

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:18 pm
by Cody
Disembodied wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:42 pm
It was the first one I thought of.
Likewise! The second one that came to mind has had me scratching my head for years, as I can't recall the title, the author, the plot, or the characters - nothing, except the huge trains which were the only way to traverse the portals between worlds. Any ideas, anyone?

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:57 pm
by Disembodied
Cody wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:18 pm
Likewise! The second one that came to mind has had me scratching my head for years, as I can't recall the title, the author, the plot, or the characters - nothing, except the huge trains which were the only way to traverse the portals between worlds. Any ideas, anyone?
Ha! Yes, I know the one you mean … but it doesn't count unless you tell me! Here's a snippet of the book cover (US edition, I think):

Image

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:37 pm
by Cody
At last, I have the bloody title! Cowboy Angels by Paul J McAuley. Muchas gracias, amigo!

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:44 pm
by Disembodied
Cody wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:37 pm
At last, I have the bloody title! Cowboy Angels by Paul J McAuley. Muchas gracias, amigo!
Ding! That makes two …

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:23 pm
by ffutures
The Subways of Tazoo by Colin Kapp, one of the Unorthodox Engineers series.

Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga series has interstellar travel by gate, with railways the most common form of travel since you have to use a LOT of gates to get from one desirable location to the next.

I'm pretty sure I've come across something similar in a chidren's series but I can't remember the author except I think it's someone well known.

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:14 am
by spud42
The Amtrak Wars, patrick Tilley
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amtrak_Wars

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:02 am
by Disembodied
ffutures wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:23 pm
The Subways of Tazoo by Colin Kapp, one of the Unorthodox Engineers series.
That's number three … I would also have accepted the UE story "The Railways Up on Cannis".
ffutures wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:23 pm
Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga series has interstellar travel by gate, with railways the most common form of travel since you have to use a LOT of gates to get from one desirable location to the next.
That's four.
spud42 wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:14 am
The Amtrak Wars, patrick Tilley
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amtrak_Wars
That makes five! spud42 is up next!

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:04 pm
by spud42
right... ok...ummm...

name 5 bio or bio/mechanoid starships used by humans/aliens. it must be controlled travel. .. usual rules. 1 universe, 1 author per answer....

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:57 pm
by Cmdr James
I realise that I know of a lot of talking starships but Im unsure if they are living or not. I think Lexx was a living ship.

I cant help thinking that living spaceships will be much more common on TV than in books, because talking computers make better tv than guys hunched over a screen. Whereas if you are writing a book you dont need to worry so much.

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:33 pm
by ffutures
Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang series has brain ships, which are essentially prosthetic bodies for the pilots. Essentially the brain thinks of itself as the ship, even though it's actually a body and brain in a life support bottle somewhere in the ship. Does that count?

Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:43 pm
by Disembodied
Moya, from Farscape.

The Spline, from Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence.