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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:32 pm 
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How many of these scientifically inaccurate Space Opera cliches does Traveller tick off? I stopped counting after a while...

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-st ... ches-.html

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:45 pm 
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I'm pretty sure at least some of those cliches were started by Traveller and that the person writing that list is familiar with the game system.

Although, reading through the list, I think it's pretty clear I can sum up what he wants to say: "I don't want to write sci-fi like my publishers want me to" considering that in many cases, his list of "cliches" kinda cover the possibilities. At which point I have to wonder if that's a cliche. For me, a cliche is when something is always one way, and never any other. When you have two rules of "humans are free, aliens are slaves" and "aliens are free, humans are slaves" I think you've pretty much covered it all; any variation between can be chalked up to one of the poles or the other.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:31 pm 
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To quote A Fish Called Wanda: "Those are all mistakes."

Some of them are, perhaps, repeated often enough to qualify as clichés. Many of them aren't mistakes as such, but rather decisions (conscious or not) about the setting -- cheap, easily run starships, for example. Not a few are decisions about storytelling: if I'm not interested in telling a story about a runaway greenhouse hellhole world, why dwell on their existence? And then there are the direct pokes at Firefly, even though he said he wouldn't.

I appreciate where he's coming from. In my own way, I struggle with creating settings that are realistic and self-consistent, for idiosyncratic values of both. Mr. Stross' past solutions to these issues have been fascinating, to say the least, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he resolves them this time.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:10 pm 
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To some extent, the alternative is Hard Science where you stare up at the sky and dream of visiting other planets and star systems ... then climb into the last of the big V8s and try to survive in a post apocalypse Earth. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:05 am 
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Excellent list of crap to (attempt to) avoid when writing original space opera.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:15 pm 
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atpollard wrote:
To some extent, the alternative is Hard Science where you stare up at the sky and dream of visiting other planets and star systems ... then climb into the last of the big V8s and try to survive in a post apocalypse Earth. ;)


I agree.

Some of us don't mind putting the nitty gritty details of science on hold when we're reading escapist fiction. Sometimes we just want to be entertained. Stross can be such a buzzkill sometimes. :P

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:47 am 
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atpollard wrote:
To some extent, the alternative is Hard Science where you stare up at the sky and dream of visiting other planets and star systems ... then climb into the last of the big V8s and try to survive in a post apocalypse Earth. ;)


Post-apoc SF has its own list of scientifically inaccurate cliches, possibly as long as the one in Stross' blog post.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:36 am 
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"Planets rotate east-to-west"? That's not a cliché, it's a tautology.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:09 am 
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Agemegos wrote:
"Planets rotate east-to-west"? That's not a cliché, it's a tautology.


It's a terrible way to phrase it, but "west to east" rotation is prograde. "east to west" rotation is retrograde.
http://www.caltech.edu/news/question-we ... ection-146

So I guess if the cliche is that they rotate east-to-west then that's generally wrong.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:41 am 
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EDG wrote:
Agemegos wrote:
"Planets rotate east-to-west"? That's not a cliché, it's a tautology.


It's a terrible way to phrase it, but "west to east" rotation is prograde. "east to west" rotation is retrograde.

Not in ordinary English. Dictionaries usually define "east" as to be the direction that the Sun rises from [at equinox].

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