[ExI] Great sf writers: A.A. Attanasio

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Tue Aug 31 18:41:32 UTC 2021

On 30/08/2021 04:14, Adrian Tymes wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 29, 2021 at 10:49 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat 
> <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org 
> <mailto:extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>> wrote:
>     At the very least, any writer who assumes that the speed of light
>     can be exceeded, should deal with the consequences that would
>     ensue. I'm not talking about being able to expand to other
>     galaxies, etc., I'm talking about the consequences that pretty
>     much ensure that the speed of light cannot be exceeded.
> Which consequences would those be?

I'm thinking about time-travel paradoxes in particular, FTL travel 
leading to causality violation, and the 'self-healing' phenomenon, where 
time-travel cancels itself out, meaning that even if you did invent a 
time-machine (or FTL travel, which seems to be essentially the same 
thing), the changes you'd make would create a feedback effect, resulting 
in you not inventing the time machine in the first place. Or travelling 
faster than light.

There's a name for this principle, I forget what it is, but it seems to 
rule out time-travel and therefore also FTL travel.

And by the way, I don't claim to understand this stuff. Just repeating 
(or paraphrasing, rather) what I've read in various places at various 
times. The  concept that there's no such thing as simultaneity over 
large enough distances blows my tiny mind, never mind the rest of it.

There's scope, though, in a story, for the equivalent of Greg Egan's 
wormhole jest in Diaspora, where even though someone travels 
/technically/ faster than light, they still don't in fact get to their 
destination faster than a photon would, and the hugely advanced, 
energy-hungry and expensive technology they employ is completely useless.

OK, I can see the problem with that immediately. Just being able to 
travel /at/ the speed of light (I mean a physical object, not just as a 
signal) would be a huge thing. In fact it would be an infinitely huge 
thing, haha.


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