Ayende @ Rahien

It's a girl

Audio Book Review: Starship

SciFi Inflation is the best term that I can use for this book series. It was engaging enough for me to go through all three books, but it bothered me enough to put a negative post about it.

Just about anything in those books is over-inflated. Interstellar travel times are measured in minutes, thousands of sentient races exists, sensors that can read the details of a ship from thirty light years away, an interstellar power has 300 million ships, etc.

This is like nails on board, highly disturbing for the flow of the story. And the story is good, it is just that those are beyond "wavehand physics away", I expect that. But I expect that to be done in a believable way.

Case in point, at one time the ship just blew up a few other ships, and it was hit with a bit of debris. The command that the Captain gibes? "Pilot, takes us half a light year out, I want to have a little time to respond if something like that happen again."

Does the author have any idea about how big a light year is?

Urgh!

Comments

shawn
05/27/2008 05:45 PM by
shawn

(nerd alert)

I thought this was something that Asimov's Foundation series addressed really well. It deals with huge civilizations that essentially span the entire Milky Way but it does so in a way that actually seems fairly plausible.

Ayende Rahien
05/27/2008 05:47 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Oh, yeah.

It does so by creating a background that make it seems very real.

Leverett
05/27/2008 06:04 PM by
Leverett

You're taking the FI out of SciFi.

Ayende Rahien
05/27/2008 06:10 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Leverett ,

There is fiction, and there is fiction.

Fiction that is not internally consistent should be scorned.

Brent Brown
05/27/2008 06:23 PM by
Brent Brown

That would be annoying.

The best SciFi series I've read (to date) as far as giving a feel for the vastness of space is The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (pseudonym for John G. Hemry).

The author takes into account the issues of the delay of seeing distant ships due to the time it takes for light to travel, communication delays, and the relative effects of ships moving at a decent percentage of the speed of light. Good stuff.

Disclaimer: I read it on the Kindle, so I can't vouch for the narrator on the audio versions...

Ayende Rahien
05/27/2008 06:33 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Brent,

I listened to those, and they cost me a week of productivity! They are absolutely amazing books.

A really good SF writer is David Weber.

My favorite books at the moment are Prince Rogers series (March Upcountry, March to the Sea, March to Space, We Few)

Brent Brown
05/27/2008 06:44 PM by
Brent Brown

I read Prince Roger after seeing your review. Those cost me two weeks of productivity! :-P

It also made me a believer in the Baen business model. I've bought a lot of books from them after getting the first book or two of a series for free...

Don't pock with a MacClintock!

Ray
05/27/2008 08:53 PM by
Ray

Well, science fiction is not necessary to have 100% same physics as "real world" has.

Ray
05/27/2008 08:58 PM by
Ray

Oh yeah, if you haven't read 'em yet you may enjoy Ian M. Banks the Culture book series. They really-really rawks.

grega g
05/28/2008 07:51 AM by
grega g

well, if i remember correctly from star trek series a 'warp core breach' (wow, i cant believe how silly that sounds after so many years...) can damage ships in a few light years radius.

but yea, good point about inflation. Its funny how writers want to achieve epical battles with sheer numbers.

Jamie
05/28/2008 08:43 AM by
Jamie

Another vote for The Culture series by Iain M. Banks - some of the best sci-fi around. And remember what the Fi stands for :-)

Dauchande
07/03/2008 07:06 PM by
Dauchande

Yes, but realize that the series is based 3,000 years in the future (Star Trek is only 500). Hopefully technology would be a bit more advanced by then.

If you want something closer to plausibility, try John Ringo's - Voyage of the Space Bubble series or the Legacy of Aldenata series. I also like anything by Vernor Vinge and David Brin.

I actually find the lack of good ai more annoying here than the physics. Either it's gone out of vogue, or it's just so commonplace that it's not worthy of being discussed.

Comments have been closed on this topic.