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Found 1 result

  1. So I've recently been rereading Triplanetary. It's by Doc Smith, the guy you might know of as the inventor of Space Opera, and thus most modern science fiction as we know it. Now, Triplanetary is the prequel to the Lensmen series (which is a ton of silly fun, start with Galactic Patrol if you can find it - most of Smith' stuff is public domain now). It's a fast-paced, breathless novel, and pretty fun. It's also got some weird mistborn similarities. In this scene, the good guys in the Boise have recently reverse-engineered the alien power generation technology. Their ships basically take any ferric matter (iron or steel), and disintegrate it, converting into raw energy. Once their ships start burning iron and steel, they create lines of force directly towards or away from themselves, which they use to push and pull, and get into a shoving match - the outcome of which is decided by the quality of their anchors. Sound familiar? Okay, but that's just a coincidence. It's not like they have some sort of weird FTL that you could easily achieve via feruchem... Yeah, they have some kind of weird FTL that can be easily achieved via feruchemical technology. Well, provided you ignore relativity, which at the time was rather more cutting-edge (heck, Smith started writing in 1915). And hey, if there's spiritual gravity, there's no reason we can't have some sort of spiritual preferred frame of reference to make Einstein sad. (The test drive of triplanetary FTL boils down to 'hey, we're two lightyears away now. Phone home on the ultrawave, ask them if it's been two years. It hasn't? So much for relativity then, let's zoom around space some more'.) Oh, yeah, where was I.... right, actually explaining the 'Bergenholm' drive. It's pretty simple in principle. You reduce the inertia/mass of your ship practically to zero, and then fire your thrusters. Cruising speed is reached when the friction of interstellar dust particles against your ship is equal to your thrust. In practice, this means that the first prototype ship can zip through the whole galaxy in a couple months. So all you *really* need to do is set up an artificial ironmind, and have it store all the mass inside the ship. You perfectly duplicate a classic FTL engine. Isn't that easy? None of this mucking about with time bubbles and spacewhatsits. Just get in and blast off. But wait, you ask, was the secret to using this technological application of iron ALSO given to inhabitants of an isolated nation by a near-omniscient guy, as part of a plan to thwart an all-destroying evil? Yes. Yes it was.