In Defense of Science Fiction: Interstellar Travel

Today we’re going to look at interstellar travel. A few years ago, someone science-y looked at interstellar travel, declared it impossible, and inadvertently killed interstellar travel in science fiction.

(By the by, by interstellar travel, we’re talking about jetting off from solar system to solar system, discovering new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before sort of travel.)

This goes back to the “science fiction’s science must be correct” argument that occasionally breaks out.

Even if we ignore that for the moment, like time travel, there’s competing arguments that say that interstellar travel IS possible. Some people think it’ll take us a couple hundred years, some people think if we can just warp spacetime enough, it’ll be sooner. And then there’s the idea that we could harness dark energy which is lovely and is my going favorite.

And, realistically, we probably could do it today, if we wanted. You’d just find yourself in one of those situations where one generation builds the spaceship and blasts off, and then, 15 generations later, we reach wherever we were going and no one knows how anything works anymore or why they’re doing what they’re doing. (Which is, admittedly, kind of awesome.)

Now, going back to the “science must be correct or it’s not science fiction” argument – I’m going to go ahead and say it doesn’t, not really, not as long as everything makes sense and is entertaining. And we, as humans, love to go places we’ve never been before. Allowing interstellar travel opens the entire universe up to us, full of strange creatures and planets and anything we can think of.

And I do believe we’ll get there, unless we blow ourselves up first.

(And heck, I read something once that said warp travel – the type Star Trek uses – might actually be possible, considering our current understanding of spacetime. So that’s awesome too.)

2 responses to this post.

  1. And I do believe we’ll get there, unless we blow ourselves up first.

    I love this post! Humanity’s knowledge of science is an ever-evolving thing, anyway; just because it doesn’t look possible now doesn’t mean that it isn’t, it just means that we don’t know enough yet.

    And it’s that, that promise of things we’ve yet to know and see, that I think makes science fiction fun. ♥


  2. […] in June, we discussed why interstellar travel has fallen out of […]


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