Thursday, 13 November 2014

"Primitive" Interstellar Travel

A ship of the Grand Survey discovered Trillia. From them or later visitors, the Trillians acquired knowledge of physics, including the theory of gravity control and hyperdrive. However, they cannot afford to buy even diagrams for starships from Polesotechnic League companies. It is League policy not to help anyone into space who can't get there by themselves because the established companies don't want new competitors emerging overnight.

The Trillians know, for example, of transistors. However, to design and built an industrial complex capable of producing not only transistors but also the many other necessary gadgets, would require decades of regimentation and poverty so, instead, they proceed more gradually:

developing huge but workable fission-power units;
generating and regulating the necessary forces with vacuum tubes, glass rectifiers and wire;
storing data on tape to be retrieved with a cathode-ray scanner;
computing with miniaturized gas-filled units reacting in microseconds.

This is "primitive" when contrasted with:

a thermonuclear power-plant;
initiative-grade navigation and engineering computers;
full-cycle life support;
solid-state circuits;
molecular-level and nuclear-level transitions;
storing data in single molecules to be retrieved with a quantum-field pulse;
computing with photon interplays reacting in a nanosecond;
the entire system almost organically integrated, more energy than matter.

There may be some resemblance to the hastily constructed ship that a crew of Kirkasanters later use to travel out of the Cloud Universe and through the Dragon's Head Nebula.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

If I had to guess, I would say Trillian technology had reached the level Terran technology had attained to at the very beginning of interstellar flight. Additionally, the Trillians were at a yet less advanced level in some ways. After all, WE, in the here and now, are already not using some of the technologies you listed (such as vacuum tubes and glass rectifiers).