- So my travails with delta-v—curse your cosmist eyes, Tsiolkovsky!—have made me realize another flaw in Avatar. I know, I thought I'd run that well dry too. But that whole thing about how Sully can't fix his legs on his salary "in this economy"? Yeah, um, what economy is it that can afford to build rockets fueled by antimatter? 'Cause that's what the ship in Avatar uses for fuel, and antimatter is the single most expensive substance known to man. Even if it's fusion catalyzed by antimatter, well, their gas money could probably be used to stage a reenactment of the first moon landing. Except with high-grade heroin standing in for the moon dust.
Of course, that also raises the question of how bad the economy can possibly be if they can fund these missions to Toliman (what, didn't know Alpha Cen had a proper name?). Also, considering they've got some Unobtainium, and it's naturally occurring, they should be able to synthesize it. Actually, that's understating it; they are able to synthesize it. By definition, anything naturally occurring (on a planet anyway) should be fairly easy to synthesize since, you know, it happens on its own. And even if it's not that easy, there is absolutely no way in hell that it's more expensive to synthesize than it is to schlepp—by slowboat, mind—four and a half light-years to mine the stuff.
I'm sorry Mr. Cameron but your plot is an economic impossibility.
- One of two things in my SF writing of which I'm very proud (the other being my cooling radiators) is my explanation for space war. See, synthesizing resources is either easy, or profitable for whoever does it, but terraforming is as-good-as-impossible, so planets that are easily-habitable (at least with domes) are at a premium. So the only thing you're fighting over is territory. Or rather, you come into conflict over territory, but you don't start fighting until one side or the other in the conflict does something rude. Like, you know, carrying off the wife of a chieftain whose tribe is contesting with yours over trade routes...and prompting him to launch the thousand black ships, and bring about the fall of Holy Ilium, and Priam, and the people of Priam of the good ashen spear.
- So remember the name Robert Frisbee. Why? Oh, well, this.
Yeah, an antimatter rocket design that's not AIMStar or ICAN-II (which aren't really antimatter rockets, they're antimatter-catalyzed nuclear rockets). And now, suddenly, I can get images into this blog; for some reason I'd had trouble doing that. Anyway, it's not exactly like what the ones in my story are gonna look like (mine have for-realsies artificial gravity, and aren't 700 kilometers long), but it's an awesome first step.
In his honor, I may have to have "frisbee" be 24th century slang for an antimatter ship.
- And yeah, people in my books do indeed use antimatter rockets...but nobody in my book says the economy is so bad that biotech (the fastest-growing field of tech after computers, by the bye) is too expensive for soldiers.
And hey, come to think of it, so in Avatar's future there are no charities like Wounded Warriors? Maybe years of over-regulation and anti-entrepreneurial economic policies killed the biotech industry, and years of state-funded medicine killed the charitable impulse. Nah, I kid—Cameron favors those policies, remember?
- So remember how I said I wanted to do SF Saiyuki and SF Peter Pan? Another thing, it occurs to me, is it'd be really fun to do an SF version of the Shinsengumi. I mean, for crying out loud, "Hijikata" means "Earthman", and he, Saitô, Nagakura, Harada, and probably more of them have numbers in their names. Don't "Primus Wisterfield" and "Triannum Earthman" sound like the kind of names a very far-future society might have? And you could give them cool gear based on their techniques—Okita's signature three-piece stab becoming a three-barreled gun, or something, and Saitô having a gun-arm on his left, that he suddenly switches to to catch opponents by surprise (contrary to Rurouni Kenshin, Saitô's signature left-handed thrust works best as a surprise maneuver).
And hell, the Black Ships=first contact; the plot just writes itself. If you're going to use history as the basis for SF, at least use something less asinine than Gibbon.
I think Miscellany (if you pronounce it to rhyme with Melanie) would be a really cute name for a girl. Anyway this is random thoughts.