In the forty-sixth chapter of The Science of Discworld, space travel and elevators and aliens! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
One of the coolest panels I’ve gotten to take part in at a science fiction convention dealt with a topic that is, in a roundabout way, what this chapter addresses: science fiction’s uncanny ability to predict things that eventually came true. I recall practically the whole panel and audience losing their shit at the beginning over the fact that The Next Generation and subsequent Trek shows have tablets in them. OUR TECHNOLOGY ACTUALLY SURPASSED THE SHOW A FULL HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE TREK’S TIMELINE, DIDN’T IT??? I’ve touched on this before, but it’s that sense of potential and possibility that makes science fiction so endlessly rewarding for me. I love thinking about what could be and how that would affect our world.
And wow, I have both great thoughts and TERRIBLE thoughts about what our world would look like if we actually did accomplish some of the things that the authors outline in this chapter. The idea of a space elevator is ridiculous enough, but hey, it’s technologically possible! But you know some horrible company would sponsor it, so we’d all have to take the Bud Light Inaugural Space Elevator in order to make it to the Kaiser Permanente International Space Station. That assumes that any of us could even afford the trip there, because you know if anything like this happens, it’ll be years—if not decades—before it’s available to PEDESTRIANS LIKE YOU AND ME. But I never thought of one possibility with a space station: you could build a ship in space so that you wouldn’t have to try to escape Earth’s gravitational pull. I imagine that humanity’s first deep space mission is going to use this to pull off what’s always been science fiction for us.
I mean, it’s that or we can all get carried into space by two griffins. I feel like one of those will be easier to accomplish. JUST SAYING.
I am glad I learned why Florida is a great place to launch rockets from; I never knew what a bolas was either. (I mean, I’d actually seen them used, but never knew the name for them.) I am also thrilled that the end of the last chapter makes more sense to me know. The wizards just barely missed humanity on their Earth. Which means… humanity is elsewhere? Maybe? Perhaps they left on a generation ship, which… y’all. Y’ALL. I absolutely eat up generation ship stories. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH, and I absolutely want to write one some day. I have zero ideas of how I’d do that, but still, it’s a sci-fi genre that hits so many buttons for me.
Wow, I can’t believe I’m done with this book with just one more post and video. I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH.
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