Methods of FTL travel

pmmg

Istar
Maybe more in the SciFi realm, but what do you think are good methods of FTL (Faster than light) travel, and if you were in the mindset, which would you want to use for your own fiction?

How much suspension do you give for a method you know has problems scientifically?
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
I also post in a sub-forum elsewhere dedicated to astrophysics. FTL is not a popular concept, with the biggest strike against it means you are effectively going backward in time, raising the possibility of paradox. That said, 'cosmic inflation' pretty much mandates that the entire universe did (or perhaps still does) expand at faster than light speed.

For myself, I go the Lovecraft route - shortcuts through strange dimensions.
 

Queshire

Auror
Now I'll admit that this is largely influenced by the game Stellaris, but I like having the fastest, most reliable form of FTL end up turning the galaxy into some kind of a web. Maybe it's hyperlanes, a wormhole network or that thing they have in Mass Effect, but have each system only connect to a limited number of other systems and to reach your destination it takes a number of jumps through the system. This makes it easier for a space nation to control territory since they just need to protect important chokepoint nodes within the system instead of needing to try to control the full extent of their borders.

That said, I do also include more of a star trek style FTL that can allow you to go from anywhere to anywhere, but I have it as slower and easier to track than using the network. That way you could use the network to out maneuver an invading fleet bypassing the network or gather up your forces to face them.

I also like mixing fantasy and sci fi so the network in this case is catching a ride along galactic ley lines in between stars, the slower FTL skims along the border between the material plane & higher planes and so called ghost ships can't actually travel at faster than light speeds, but since they're packed full of undead they don't mind the slow drift to their victims.
 
My favorite FTL travel method is definitely the Infinite Improbability Drive.

Other than that, I think there are only a few options. It usually comes down to one of these:
- Wormholes (or equivalent): You can take short-cuts through space which allow you to (almost) instantaneously get from A to B.
- Warp Drive: You don't actually travel FTL, instead you warp the space around you to be smaller, which makes you cover the distance faster
- Hyperdrive: You travel through a different dimension, which lets you travel FTL, from one random point to another
- Really big rocket: not that common, but it simply handwaves the whole thing to: our rocket has an engine which lets us travel FTL.

Each of these has different uses and limitations.

Of course, all FTL travel has scientific issues. Which means it doesn't matter (from that perspective) which one you pick. I think in most SciFi if you just call something a Hyperdrive (or equivalent) people will just accept it as the way you travel FTL. No explanation is really needed. It's only when you get into very hard SciFi that you need a scientifically sound way of travelling.
 

TheKillerBs

Inkling
I don't think FTL travel is a big deal, considering the options already laid out. What I've never seen not entirely handwaved away is FTL communications
 

Insolent Lad

Maester
I don't think FTL travel is a big deal, considering the options already laid out. What I've never seen not entirely handwaved away is FTL communications
What with courier ships being faster than transmissions, letter writing made a big comeback in my SF novel. :)
 

Aldarion

Inkling
Maybe more in the SciFi realm, but what do you think are good methods of FTL (Faster than light) travel, and if you were in the mindset, which would you want to use for your own fiction?

How much suspension do you give for a method you know has problems scientifically?
Sacrifice seven maidens and open a portal to Hell that will then take you to where you want to be. Maybe. And hopefully you will not end up mutated.
 

Reaver

Staff
Moderator
My favorite FTL travel method is definitely the Infinite Improbability Drive.

Other than that, I think there are only a few options. It usually comes down to one of these:
- Wormholes (or equivalent): You can take short-cuts through space which allow you to (almost) instantaneously get from A to B.
- Warp Drive: You don't actually travel FTL, instead you warp the space around you to be smaller, which makes you cover the distance faster
- Hyperdrive: You travel through a different dimension, which lets you travel FTL, from one random point to another
- Really big rocket: not that common, but it simply handwaves the whole thing to: our rocket has an engine which lets us travel FTL.

Each of these has different uses and limitations.

Of course, all FTL travel has scientific issues. Which means it doesn't matter (from that perspective) which one you pick. I think in most SciFi if you just call something a Hyperdrive (or equivalent) people will just accept it as the way you travel FTL. No explanation is really needed. It's only when you get into very hard SciFi that you need a scientifically sound way of travelling.

While the I.I.D. is near the top of my favorites list, I have to go with Dune's Spacing Guild that uses folding space to travel vast distances.
 

ninjasaid

New Member
I like this recent webcomic page Minkowski Space where the ship jumps into a minowski space to escape (as common in sci-fi) which is just a representation of real 3d physical spacetime and offers no true escape from the bounds of the universal speed limit thus providing the comedic absurdity of page.

The comic shows this space as a skewed perspective of real space where you can't tell if a ship is gaining on you because the tip comes closer but the centers move further apart.
 
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