Thursday, July 28, 2011


I have often wondered what science fiction (SF) would've been like without faster-than-light (FTL) travel, hyperspatial jumps, wormholes or the sundry other means by which our intrepid protagonists travel vast interstellar distances in mere moments to rescue damsels in distress of astronomic proportions*. I expect it would've gone something like this:

It was a dark and stormy night. The launch of the Voyager III was wisely put off till the next morning, by which time had predicted that things would clear up a bit. The launch went perfectly well, except for a brief delay minutes before the launch when the Captain just couldn't hold it in any longer and absolutely had to go. Bits of the spacecraft fell off when they were supposed to; crew morale was high, and the Captain's bladder was blissfully empty. Things looked good for the mission.

By the time the Voyager had reached the Alpha Centauri system, however, things were unusually silent aboard the spacecraft. A closer analysis of the situation (p < 0.05) revealed that the crew were, in science-y medical terms, dead of old age.

End of story. Think, I implore you, of the vast tracts of Brazilian rainforest that could've been saved had it not been for the cursed imaginations of our SF writers.

*Erm, I must clarify here that it is the distress that would have been of astronomic proportions, and not the damsels.