So, there are a bunch of things in our setting that are not really based on science and as far as any human knowledge is concerned, could not work.
The two biggest ones are the Bussard ramjet for a ship that travels between stars (and as it turns out, between galaxies), and the construction nanites.
We’re not even bothering to research the possibilities of nanites. We’ve known we’re creating a magical power with them.
The Bussard ramjet, however, was something we thought had some credibility to it. But we’ve started looking closer at the theories tonight since we also crunched the numbers we’ve been throwing around and discovered our ships are likely traveling through the void between galaxies most of the time. And, so far, most of the articles we’re stumbling across point out that for most models of the Bussard ramjet, the drag created by capturing fuel is greater than the thrust it can create. And with the supposedly working models, presumably using technology we can only imagine mathematically, the efficiency is still so low that there’s sort of a max speed and the top acceleration isn’t as high as we want it to be.
But, we picked the Bussard ramjet as our primary form of propulsion because we looked at all the ridiculous, impossible things that science fiction starships do to get around and decided that it had the look and feel that we wanted.
The thing is this: This is not speculative fiction. It’s a myth. A parable.
We’re not writing about how humanity might colonize space, or even what humanity might face if we ever got to this level of unbelievable technology. As much as it looks like it, we’re not even writing about anything like the Singularity (as in the point at which the advancement of technology “hits an asymptote”).
We’re using the trappings of science fiction, stories of utopia, and transhumanism as handwaving explanations for why this world we’re writing about works like the world inside our head (our inworld or dreamworld) and, more importantly, as situational metaphors for dissociation and immersive daydreaming as tools to get away from oppression, abuse, and generational trauma. And also, corporeal things like travel, cutting off ones relatives, and using time itself to distance oneself from the source of pain simply by surviving well past its occurrence.
Hopping on a generational spacecraft only full of queer, neurodivergent weirdos and flying far, far away from the Earth, forever after, is such a common daydream amongst our peers, and us, that our inworld has taken that shape. So we’re writing about it.
And most of us hope, I do at least, that it doesn’t look like we’re glorifying it.
But a little note here saying, “Oh, yeah, this is actually impossible, but only in the outworld” seems in order right now.