starshipcat (starshipcat) wrote,

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A few days ago I'd mentioned FTL, Y'all, a comics anthology that posits that Twenty Minutes Into the Future, someone uploads schematics for a $200 FTL drive. The submission call is to explore the implications of it.

Out of curiosity, I went back to the place where I originally found the link for it and read the comments to see the reactions of that community. I was astonished, and a little taken aback, by just how very small of ideas they were putting forth. These were supposed to be science fiction readers, writers and fans, yet they all seemed to want to focus on all the factors that would make it hard to make an actual spaceship and go anywhere interesting with it. Instead, they all seemed to want to write mundane stories about how it would affect ordinary travel, etc.

Yes, there are some interesting implications -- $200 is a heck of a lot cheaper than a plane ticket, and no TSA hassles. And assuming that the device isn't a one-use Magic Item, you've got the ability to do a lot of traveling over the life of the device.

But it's not really the point of the anthology call, which at least as I see it is what happens when we once again have wide-open spaces that everyone can explore, where ordinary people can go off into place where nobody has mapped and studied and photographed from orbit. Stories of exploration and adventure. Stories of trade and of settlement. Stories of conflict and co-operation with previously unknown cultures and civilization. Some will be bright, some will be grim, but the whole point is the sudden lowering of a boundary so that your characters can go places that had been previously forever beyond reach.

If I were editing an anthology like this, I think I would take one story exploring more mundane, Earth-based implications of such a stardrive. Maybe two, if both were absolutely excellent, to the point I couldn't bear to part with either to make room for more stories of exploration of the Solar System and the galaxy. But I would want the main thrust of the anthology to be the exploration of the implications of boundlessness.

And I really think that a significant part of the science fiction community has become afraid of boundlessness, and actually wants a future where humanity is confined to Earth forever. And who want to limit others' ability to dream otherwise, lest someone come up with a solution that they can't shut down.
Tags: reading, space, writing

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