A lot of us here have been banging on about plausibility in sci-fi, and how many shows let us down in the 'reality' stakes for the sake of entertainment.
Sure - much of it is good entertainment, and it doesn't really detract from the objective of the story, but from time to time, something really grates. You may not notice it straight away, because the entertainment is so good, that you don't realise - you get sucked in by the plot, and enjoy the story for what it is, only later realising 'But how did they...?' or 'Why didn't they do...?' or 'How come this...?'
So, without picking up on the obvious (like Avatar, Sunlight, 2012 *cough*, Trek, B5, '1999 etc), and the glaringly obvious in the storylines, such as going from chemical rockets to insterstellar flight in just one or two minutes... here's my first:
An alien signal is identified, and it sends pulses of data that... "Hey! It's primary numbers!" - yeah, base-10 primaries. You'd be up shit creek if the aliens were three fingered and had tri-lateral symmetry, thus pumping out numbers in base-9.
So why wasn't data transmitted in binary chunks? Oh, yeah, I forgot. The audience is too damned stupid to realise that a sequence of 'off' and 'on' data makes much more sense. And the world would have been a considerably different place if base-10 wasn't the dominant counting system: it could have easily have been different number bases, especially as our counting system was originally based on the calendar (why have we still got 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day, and 360+5 days in a year?) - we don't get rid of those hangovers that easily.
And we could have just as easily been able to count to 1024 on our fingers, had base-2 taken off earlier in our education evolution - and this is going to be the most likely method of initial communication with an alien race too: simple 'off' and 'on' signals: prime numbers don't matter in the context of binary - only when we convert the binary to different number bases do primes start to have meaning.
Thread: Plausibility in Sci-Fi
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05-08-2012 05:10 PM
Last edited by al feersum; 05-08-2012 at 05:17 PM.
05-08-2012 10:16 PM
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Although the Avengers is fantasy, it does have science fiction elements. It made $207 million in one weekend and asked us to believe that the Navy, today, can build a battleship air carrier that can fly up in the sky and become invisible.
I don't think asking today's audiences to believe a moon can fly is going to be much more difficult than it was in 1975, even with contempoary sophistication. Bill Nye was booed in Texas for suggesting that the Moon was not a celestial light(quoting Genesis), but merely reflected the sun. People will believe anything if you tell the story properly (and plausibly enough).
Last edited by Christopher Piri; 05-09-2012 at 12:37 AM.
05-09-2012 06:16 AM
This is more of an issue:
Last edited by al feersum; 05-09-2012 at 06:25 AM.
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07-13-2012 01:42 AM
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This article is very informative and it such a big help for science fiction reader.It is important to know how theoretically possible and makes sense in not just as science but within context of the novels, plots and characters too. SF should make atleast a good faith effort with the plausibility of its technology, as it is known when the story or novel or written.
Mike CampbellGuest07-13-2012 02:45 AM
The moon can leave earth orbit.
04-30-2013 11:39 PM
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Einstein once said imagination is more important than knowledge. I heard he was a smart man. One side of the brain is creative, and the other side is analytical. Geniuses used both imagination and logic. Most people are dominant one way or the other.
Anyone that discounts the importance of imagination and science fiction is just uneducated