Thread: Jump Distance
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Old 06-16-2021, 11:29 PM   #32
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wellington, NZ
Default Re: Jump Distance

Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
I think Traveller falls in between hard science and space opera. Faster than light travel, gravity control, power plants without massive radiators, and psionic powers are all superscience, but all conventional features of "hard science except . . ." tradition. (Scooping fuel from gas giants without being cooked by radiation also bends the rules.)

Once things like nuclear dampers (Mercenary) and meson weapons and communication are added (High Guard, it moved deeper into superscience. (Particle beam weapons that can penetrate the radiation shields that allow gas giant scooping also bend science.)

But in spite of the presence of a lot of superscience, I think Traveller stays clear of space opera by keeping a hard science philosophy around its superscience. In other words, I see a distinction between superscience that follows consistent rules and space opera, where the needs of the story regularly overrule previously established superscience.

A good intermediate label might be "rigorous superscience".
All this makes is space opera in the style of Poul Anderson's space merchants and 'Flandry' stories. These had what was for the time fairly solid world-building, the behaviour of spaceships was completely super-science, but the rules were consistently applied to them. The stories were definitely space opera, however.
Rupert Boleyn

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