Subject:      Re: Star Drives - Catalogs
From:         Erik Max Francis <max@alcyone.com>
Date:         1996/09/08
Message-Id:   <32338A9A.1D45A56A@alcyone.com>
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Roy Brander wrote: > True enough that most break down to "hyperspace" and "jumping"; but I > think that it certainly counts in strategy games to know the *conditions* > of getting there. In Star Trek, they just go into warp any old time; Star Trek drives constitute a separate class of drives; I called it type II drives, or warpdrives. (Type I are hyperdrives, and type II are jumpdrives.) Hyperdrives involve going to a "hyperspace"; warpdrives, like in Star Trek, involve creating a bubble of some different space around the ship so that they can travel faster than light. > -In Niven, only if you're many many A.U. away from a star; There are obviously conditions on the three types of drives (I and the original poster called them the same thing, but my definitions are slightly different). Niven hyperdrives won't operate in the vicinity of a gravity well. That's just a condition on the base type of drive. > -In Heinlein's "Starman Jones", and in "Citizen of the Galaxy", you > had to go right up to the speed of light to "break through" into > FTL. In SJ, you then "jumped"; in CotG, you went into an FTL-space. Niven had a similar thing in his Thrint drive; you needed to exceed a certain speed before the Universe was massive enough to allow the jump. (Niven's description is brief, and I don't recall it definitively making a distinction between whether or not it was a warpdrive or a jumpdrive.) > In *most* SF, you have to be a *Big* ship to do it; Star Trek has only > recently acquired shuttles that Warp. In Kevin O'Donnell's excellent > "Fire on the Border", even one-man fighters could just jump, and frequently, > though more often than every few minutes risked blowing up your ship. Niven and Niven/Pournelle used different ways to avoid this plot problem. (It's a plot problem in that, whenever something goes wrong, you can always jump. That makes writing a story more difficult.) With Niven's hyperdrive, you need to be far away from any massive objects, so you need to be in an outer system to jump -- this prevents people from escaping a problem insystem by merely engaging the hyperdrive. Niven and Pournelle, in _The mote in God's eye_, avoided this problem with their Alderson drive: You can engage the drive anytime you like, but it won't do anything (except consume energy) unless you're in the right position. -- Erik Max Francis, &tSftDotIotE http://www.alcyone.com/max/ max@alcyone.com San Jose, California ICBM 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W R^4: the 4th R is respect "Out from his breast/his soul went to seek/the doom of the just." -- _Beowulf_