I want my spaceship to go fast...

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Brightdreamer

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Maybe I missed it - this thread is pretty dense reading (as in it's tough to keep track of the different arguments), but another one I haven't seen much used is that of phase drives. Kinda like wormholes, or other dimensions of space, but operating on different principles entirely. Remember in TNG when Wesley and that time traveler were phasing in and out of the current reality, and his mom Beverly was in another reality? Something like that...so what if you had a phase drive that could put you in another reality, and that allowed for easier transport because of...whatever?

Sounds a bit like the drive in John Scalzi's Old Man's War books, where IIRC one character determined that they weren't actually moving ships at superlight speed to other star systems but shifting to almost-identical realities where the ship was already there.

Though that's another level of theoretical/"magic" tech; if it's possible, it would take a major leap in our understanding of physics, let alone our ability to practically implement it.

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starrystorm

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I'm not published but in the story I'm writing now, I never name it. I guess because the characters are mainly stuck on one planet the entire time, but when they do travel, my MC just looks out the window, sees the stars blur, insert dialogue, or some internal thoughts, and eventually they arrive at the planet.
 

The Black Prince

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I'm not published but in the story I'm writing now, I never name it. I guess because the characters are mainly stuck on one planet the entire time, but when they do travel, my MC just looks out the window, sees the stars blur, insert dialogue, or some internal thoughts, and eventually they arrive at the planet.

And for fiction, that's all you need. The minute you try going into scientific or quasi-scientific detail about your FTL drive you'll get into trouble for all the reasons people have suggested above.

Does anyone ever seriously query the warp speed in Star Trek? Maybe a handful of contrary nerds but for the most part it's just accepted. Call your FTL drive a cool name and people (already suspending their disbelief) will be happy to go along with it.

Unless you try too hard to explain it.

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Laer Carroll

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One way to handle "impossible according to current science" phenomena is to follow Heinlein's dictum to allow only one impossibility in a story.

Posit FTL or time travel or telepathy, then surround it with realistic detail. Believable people are especially important to convincing readers to suspend their disbelief.

If you know enough current science you can use some of it to add realism. Just don't overburden readers with the details. It should be in the background, occasionally alluded to but rarely explained.

An example of real science is the nature of the asteroid belt. TV and movies always show it as a bunch of rocks close together. But in reality most asteroids, small as well as large, are several hundred THOUSAND miles apart. Have your spaceship curve above the Belt for safety if you want. But have your pilot apologize for being stupidly extra safe.

Some of the realities of technology development and use can help. For instance, in my Space Orphan series my heroine is a superhero whose superpower is her intelligence. She invents stuff the way we breathe. But once invented it takes months and years for LOTS of people to make anything workable beyond the laboratory or workshop. But like the way we treat impossible-according-to-CURRENT science it's best to treat impossible tech as happening in the background and never explained beyond mentioning a few practical details.

"I could have traveled on a hyperspace 3 ship, but they're way too expensive for a working stiff. I took a hyper2 ship. It took me 13 months to get here, but hey, I learned to play poker really well!"

Another way to handle impossible tech is to have advanced aliens "invent" it for you. You want an FTL spaceship, you've got to buy it from the blue-furred cat centaurs. But have a lawyer read your contract. They're ethical as all Hell but never give a sucker a break.