Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The need for telepathy in Sci-Fi?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    List? What list? Can you post it?
    Sorry I was not clear enough. That list of "what if B5 was written by other authors" is at the link I gave above. It's kind of long, and very off topic. I'd rather not post it.
    The website is at:
    http://hjem.get2net.dk/b5/
    Click on "B5... Humor" in the left frame. You'd get a list of humor pages, you must click on the smallish rhombus next to a title (bad webpage design IMO) to read it.
    Of course you can always go directly to the page in question:
    http://hjem.get2net.dk/b5/humor/b5oa.htm

    Here's another piece of B5 humor:
    http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.html?id=881

    Maybe we should start a Babylon 5 Humor thread....




    Asimov's Foundation series is still a good read (it was when I last read it about 12 years ago)... and it has something of psionics somewhere around book 2, it would spoil that and book 3 if I said more.
    But I had to mention that Asimov is a classic hard SF writer that used psionics/telepathy in his stories. Within the positronic robot series of short stories there's one with a telepathic robot (that's no spoiler, it comes up front to set the story), I think it's title "Liar!" it was another good exploration of his 3 Laws of Robotics.
    All of that was in the simpler times before R. Daneel Olivaw of course...

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben-Thayer Dunnthaedt
    replied
    And I plan to be one of those dirty old men of the modern era.
    I'm already there, bro

    Leave a comment:


  • CRONAN
    replied
    Asimov is another author on that list of "B5 by other authors."

    Asimov wrote a book called "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man" and published some collections of lecherous limericks... Heinlein wasn't the only dirty old man among the classic golden age SF authors.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    List? What list? Can you post it?

    OT
    As a matter of fact, I have recently borrowed the Foundation books from the local library, and I'm just getting into #2 now. For a series written over half a century ago, it aint bad!

    A few differences you see from other areas in sci fi; it relies more on probabilities and subtle politics to solve epic crisis than warfare and heroics, scoffs all religion and the main characters die regularly only to be replaced by new ones! For a writer who mainly deals in short stories, its premise is a convenient one.

    Further, when heroics are used, the main characters end up looking desperately amateurish, only to be overrun by events far beyond their realm of influence. Plenty of suspence, solid writing and pacing, so far, I like what I see.

    /OT
    Last edited by CRONAN; 06-18-2004, 10:47 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<Asimov wrote a book called "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man" and published some collections of lecherous limericks... Heinlein wasn't the only dirty old man among the classic golden age SF authors.>>

    And I plan to be one of those dirty old men of the modern era.

    Funny stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    I'd like to remark that the article specifies that this teleportation means replicating an object by transmiting information, not actual "beaming" of matter.

    I remember reading an article about Quantum Teleportation at Scientific American (published in April 2000, not available online for free), one of the problems with "teleporting" larger objects is that the quantum entanglement required is very unstable and easily perturbed by interactions with matter.
    Many years down the road that may change.

    Note that physicists call this teleportation (even if it's information, not matter that is transmited) because from their point of view if a particle has the exact same quantum state that another they are indistinguishable. In the example from the article atom C becomes indistingusihable from atom A after the experiment (same quantum state). But are they the same?
    If this were applied to larger object (let's say it's a Ball on New York) you would have to have some collection of atoms in the receiving end (let's say Los Ageles) that would reassemble into the Ball. The original ball would however become a random collection of atoms in the process. Is the ball now assembled in LA the same thing as the ball that existed in NY?

    Now that I think about it, an ansible ("instantaneous" FTL comunication) could be possible by quantum "teleportation" without postulating tachyons...


    Heinlein was indeed a dirty man, which wasn't that bad really... and to tie him in to B5 here's this:
    What if the Babylon 5 arc was written by Heinlein?

    -- Talia and Ivanova would be sleeping together from the beginning...
    -- this would surprise no one, for everyone else would be sleeping together as well...
    -- did I mention they'd all be related?
    -- Mars rebels would be throwing large chunks of rock at Earth...
    -- every female on the show would possess multiple doctorates...
    -- every female on the show would be pregnant...
    -- Franklin would spend most of his time gene-splicing (see above)...
    -- Garibaldi would spend most of his time arguing with his (sentient) computer...
    -- Sheridan and Sinclair would *both* have discovered that they were long-lost by-blows of Lazarus Long...
    -- What other races? Humanity would have exterminated them long ago!
    I took that from the B5 humor page at http://hjem.get2net.dk/b5/
    I had read it long ago, (while the series was still running!) I took the liberty of updating the first line, I think it could be fun to update/extend that now that the series finished...

    Asimov is another author on that list of "B5 by other authors."

    Asimov wrote a book called "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man" and published some collections of lecherous limericks... Heinlein wasn't the only dirty old man among the classic golden age SF authors.

    I once read that Asimov made his Foundation universe free of aliens because John W. Campbell had very specific requirements for aliens with which Asimov didn't want to accept (specifically Campbell was a bit of a racist that insisted that all aliens had to be shown as inferior to humans). This does not diminish in any way how he ended using that to explore humanity alone, but is an interesting piece of trivia.
    I mentioned before that the Second Foundation Trilogy by Benford, Bear and Brin has an explanation for the all-human galaxy and also tightens the conections between the Positronic Robots and Foundation universes.

    Leave a comment:


  • RCmodeler
    replied
    Re: The need for telepathy in Sci-Fi?

    Originally posted by Vorpal
    The holy trinity of modern science fiction seems to be: Faster than Light (FTL) travel, humaniod aliens and telepathic powers. There are few series which pull it off well.
    Correction: Modern *VISUAL* science fiction (or as I prefer: futuristic fantasy)*. If you read science fiction books, the aliens are definitely NOT human and telepathy is rarely employed.

    As for FTL, this is based on the reality that pausing a story for 100 years while the heroes travel between stars is not really practical. Although I HAVE read science fiction which did not have warp speed or gates, and they handled the issue very, very well.

    Examples: The Mote In God's Eye, The Forever War.



    * Futuristic fantasy = A show like Trek or Star Wars that violates basic science. They are basically fantasy, but instead of wizards you have Spock, instead of swords you have rayguns, and instead of magic you have techno-babble.

    Example: Andromeda = Hercules in the future.





    Originally posted by Vorpal
    There is only one sci-fi genre that I know of that does not use aliens - that is the Battletech universe. Very interesting.
    Asimov's Earth/Robot/Foundation novels did not have aliens. Humanity conquered the entire galaxy, and not one alien was discovered. He focused on exploring ideas *within* the human community.




    Originally posted by Z'ha'dumDweller
    I noticed that later in his carrer, Heinlen turned into something of a dirty old man. Look at the premises of some of his later books.
    Heinlein was also a dirty *young* man... it's just that 50s-era morals censored his work. Once the 60's liberation happened, Heinlein was free to expose his true self.
    Last edited by RCmodeler; 06-17-2004, 01:39 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • frulad
    replied
    While it hasn't really been brought up yet, it looks like scientists may have actually licked teleportation! (Sort of)

    From the New York Times

    Scientists Teleport Not Kirk, but an Atom
    By KENNETH CHANG

    Published: June 17, 2004

    And the beryllium atom said to the Starship Enterprise, beam me up!

    Two teams of scientists report today that for the first time they have teleported individual atoms, taking characteristics of one atom and imprinting them on a second.

    In physics, teleportation means creating a replica of an object, or at least some aspect of it, at some distance from the original. The act of teleporting always destroys the original - not entirely unlike the transporters of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies - so it is impossible produce multiple copies.

    The prospect of using teleportation to move large objects or people remains far beyond the current realm of possibility. But it could prove an important component of so-called quantum computers. Scientists hope that one day such computers will tap quantum mechanics to solve complex problems quickly by calculating many different possible answers at once; computers today must calculate each possibility separately.

    The two teams, one at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., and one at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, worked independently, but the experiments were similar, using a process proposed by Dr. Charles H. Bennett, a scientist at I.B.M., and others in 1993.

    "This will be an important part of attempts to build quantum computers," said Dr. H. Jeff Kimble, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. He co-wrote a commentary accompanying the two research papers on the experiments, which appear today in the journal Nature.

    "This is a complicated thing that begins to work," Dr. Kimble said. "We've reached this point on our journey and it's really quite significant."

    Several scientific groups, including one led by Dr. Kimble, previously teleported photons, and scientists at the University of Aarhus in Denmark reported in 2001 that they had teleported the magnetic field produced by clouds of atoms.

    In the new experiments, both teams of scientists worked with triplets of charged atoms trapped in magnetic fields. The Colorado team used beryllium; the Innsbruck researchers used calcium.

    The feat of teleportation is transferring information from atom A to atom C without the two meeting. The third atom, B, is an intermediary.

    The three atoms can be thought of as boxes that can contain a 1 or a zero, a bit of information like that used by a conventional computer chip. The promise of quantum computers is that both a zero and a 1 can exist at once, just like the perplexing premise described by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schr├Ědinger in which a cat in a box can be simultaneously alive and dead until someone looks inside.

    First, atoms B and C were brought together, making them "entangled" and creating an invisible link between the two atoms no matter how far apart they were. Atom C was moved away. Next, A and B were similarly entangled.

    Then the scientists measured the energy states of A and B, essentially opening the boxes to see whether each contained a 1 or a zero. Because B had been entangled with C, opening A and B created an instant change in atom C, what Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," and this, in essence, set a combination lock on atom C, with the data in A and B serving as the combination.

    For the final step, the combination was sent and a pulse of laser light was applied to atom C, almost magically turning it into a replica of the original A. Atom A was teleported to atom C.

    "It's a way of transferring the information," Dr. Rainer Blatt, leader of the Innsbruck team, said.

    A quantum computer could use teleportation to move the results of calculations from one part of the computer to another. "Teleportation in principle could be done pretty quick," said Dr. David J. Wineland, head of the Colorado team, noting that directly moving atoms containing intermediate results would almost certainly be too slow.

    In the current experiments, the teleportation distances were a fraction of a millimeter, but in principle, the atoms could be teleported over much longer distances. The teleportation was also not perfect, succeeding about three-quarters of the time.

    "We're not doing very well yet," Dr. Wineland said. "All of these operations have to be improved."

    Teleporting a much larger object, like a person, appears unlikely, if not entirely impossible, because too much information would have to be captured and transmitted.

    "It's certainly not useful for any beaming in the 'Star Trek' sense," Dr. Blatt of the University of Innsbruck said. "Consider even some molecules or something small like a virus. I cannot imagine it. As far as I can see, it's not going to happen."

    Leave a comment:


  • CRONAN
    replied
    tssssssssssss

    Ooookay, havent seen season 4 yet, so I may have to stay away from this thread, too hot to handle..

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<Weren't all the Vorlons telepathic?>>

    Hence my ellipsis.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben-Thayer Dunnthaedt
    replied
    Weren't all the Vorlons telepathic? Or was anything ever said about it? It was implied that the Vorlons had a telpathic link with their ships. Ulkesh's ship started tearing apart bay 13 during the big attack, so it was definitely in contact with Ulkesh, although I suppose it may not have been via telepathy. But in the novels it sure seemed like the Vorlons have a mind link with their ships. Lyta also claimed the Thirdspace aliens were all telepathic (not that it has anything to do with the Vorlons), but personally I've always perceived the Thirdspace aliens to be more similar to the Vorlons than the Shadows.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<When will we ever see a female Vorlon? (they do exist, I can dig up the jms quote if necessary)>>

    He said the concept is irrelevant, but that some do appear as female.

    <<And why are there no Vorlon telepaths?>>

    ...

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    Yeah, Heinlen never struck me as hard. I mean, I almost read Starship Troopers in one sitting. How can you not get into the Johnny Rico character? It is a great book. Too bad the movie was "modernized" and we got the jackass doctor kid with the damn computer and a babyfaced punk as Johhny.

    I noticed that later in his carrer, Heinlen turned into something of a dirty old man. Look at the premises of some of his later books.

    Leave a comment:


  • CRONAN
    replied
    Speaking of the Vorlons, two questions:

    When will we ever see a female Vorlon? (they do exist, I can dig up the jms quote if necessary)
    And why are there no Vorlon telepaths?
    Last edited by CRONAN; 06-16-2004, 11:36 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    More thoughts on Hard Science Fiction and some on telepathy

    Have you heard of how hard SF has inspired people to get into a scientific career?
    Count me in among them (it wasn't the main inspiration, but it helped).
    I don't read hard SF analyzing it for fidelity to science, I do catch up a few slip-ups or liberties sometimes (particularly when they refer to chemistry, my field of study), I have learned a few science facts from SF, but in many cases I'm just lef wondering at what point in the ideas presented the division between real science and speculation/extrapolation is.

    In lots of good hard SF the science is an invisible background. To go back to Ann McCaffrey's Pern, I read that before she wrote the story she carefully developed the scientific background (even as far as calculating planetary orbits) with the help of editor John W. Campbell. Similarly Hal Clement's "Mission of Gravity" had a lot of thought behind it that is not exposed in the book, but constrains and decides some parts of the story to make it consistent with the science behind.

    The Rama series is better after the first book I think. Clarke is a great big idea writer but he is still sometimes deficient in character development. The sequels are later works, and in collaboration, I think that's why they have better character development.

    The "classical" hard SF, around the 1940s to the early 1960s did have problems with characterization. Heinlein started his career back then and has always been considered a "hard SF" writer. I think he was an exception to the rule of deficient character development for the most part. Heinlein is usually credited with making the exposition of science behind the story better, more seamless, maybe that's why you don't perceive him as a hard SF writer Z'ha'dum Dweller.

    The "New wave" of the 1960s elevated the literary standards of SF (that movement also introduced the term "speculative fiction"), their intent of reforming the field succeeded in making characterization more important. Many short hard SF stories are still "story ideas" where the characters are sketeched just enough to carry the story, but in most novels by hard SF writers the characters are now quite well developed.

    An early example of a character driven story where a lot of thought went into building a world and an ecology based on real science is the Dune series.

    Gregory Benford is a good example of hard SF writers that have good character development. Michael Flynn's near future hard SF series about going back to space through private ventures (Firestar, Rogue Star, Lodestar, Falling Stars) is a very good story that tries to be close to real science and also has lots of character development (so much that at times it overtakes plot development in my opinion, only an inconvenience if you didn't care to know what happens to those characters).

    A great collection that gives an overview of the development and breadth of hard SF is "The Ascent of Wonder" edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. The introductory essays to the anthology and notes for the stories are available online:
    http://ebbs.english.vt.edu/exper/kcramer/aow.html
    It's an anthology that I have in my collection, it took me several months of on and off reading to finish. I mention this here because the notes on McCaffrey's "Weyr Search" are the ones that alerted me to the hard SF background of the world of Pern.

    Now, I have a marked preference for hard SF, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy other kinds, nor that I think a story is worthless if it stems from scientifically impossible concepts. I really enjoy many works published during the "New Wave" and still read those authors.
    In the end what matters is that the story is good.


    Now back to the topic of telepathy on B5:

    Going with the thoughts I put above I'd say that telepathy can be science fiction if the concept is rationalized and shrouded in some scientific justification (however tenuous and debatable that may be). In Babylon 5 it was justified as a genetic modification by the Vorlons, but the actual mechanism for telepathy left as a mistery. Given the assumption that the Vorlons have millions of years of advancement the magic of telepathy is accepted as suficiently advanced technology. I can live with that, I agree with Cronan, it really is a good means of conveying the story and damn good storytelling.

    Leave a comment:


  • CRONAN
    replied
    Incoming Opinion

    Really, its all just a means of conveying the story anyways - and its thought prevoking, so whether its organic-warships, telepaths, jumpgates, aliens or really big explosions in space, its a heck of alot more interesting than watching a collection of drab, uninspired soap operas or cop shows.

    Bottomline = Damn good story telling.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X