Before I even started this blog, I would occasionally pose a SyFy Question of the Day to my facebook friends. Sometimes, it was directly related to what I was writing, and I really did want some input to help me decide what direction to take with the story. Other times, it was purely fun. Here’s one of my favorites, from April 2011:
SyFy question of the day: Writers have explained space travel in many ways, but what about communication between the stars? What is plausible? Must it take months to send a message to another solar system?
Al If there is FTL travel, perhaps a version of the Pony Express can exist with unmanned ships that carry physical mail or electronic transmissions between planets. Being FTL, they’d be faster than radio or laser comms. Unless you postulate some kind of sub-space or super-space radio that is effectively FTL. Or using paired quantum particles to somehow communicate datas.
Or… if you have people with psychic abilities, there might even be trained communicators who use such powers to instantly transmit messages.
All sorts of possibilities exist.
AB I liken the Pony Express idea to the early 1990’s when computer bulletin boards (BBS’s) would link together to send e-mail. A series of near-instant jumps, several hours apart.
…or were you talking about Pony Horton? 😛
Bernard Al nailed it, quantum particles.
Al LOL! Nope, not Pony Horton… But, not like FIDOnet either…
I’m talking about FTL ships that travel from planet to planet and upon arrival, contain communications. Are then serviced, loaded with return comms, and dispatched back.
Relays would still be too slow, and limited by the speed of light. You want some method that is FTL.
Star Trek invented Subspace Radio (or adopted it from earlier SF stories) to allow near real-time communications in their stories. But were very inconsistent in its use. Some stories had it real time for instantaneous communications, and others had it take days or weeks to send a message.
Back in the day, Ocean liners would carry mail from port to port across the Atlantic. So, could space liners in your stories.
Perhaps the arrival of a liner would be exciting for the news, mail, entertainments and the like which would be on board?
AB Now I’m thinking about some “THING” that might not be a ship, but can go FTL. It’s cargo is virtual, it is information…
And the next novel (which may end up being the first novel) the MMC works for a communication company and sometimes has to make business trips to earth…
And I am OCD about being consistent within my own world!
Al Yes! Exactly…
AB Oooh! Like we have satellites that bounce info around one planet, I think I’ll have… some THING like a satellite that, instead of orbiting, spends its time bouncing back and forth between two distant points… relaying packages of information at each end…
Bernard I really like the quantum particles idea.
Consider a split-particle production facility located between two distant points. Particle packages are sent to remote areas the slow way. When used in a packet array, so that individual particles represent a binary bit (like Internet packets) information can be exchanged instantaneously.
Shane Madeline L’Engle’s tesseract.
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