Holtzman

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    The people and their technology

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A Thing of Eternity
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 31 May 2008 19:33

Ah okay, I see the issue, I'm not describing what I'm picturing correctly. Just picture an onion that has been sliced into layers that run perpendicular to the onion layers(only roughly/at the equator obviously, as the onion style layers curve). Then the onion is stood on end, each gap between layers is a wall, and so is each slice. Some of the "cubes" created thus are open to each other to create hallways, some aren't. No falling to any low points regardless of the direction of the g-forces.

Anyways, Chig is correct, even without creating actual artificial gravity one could use suspensors/antigrav to achieve the same but opposit effect. Picture a flat ship (or what ever shape) hovering above the surface of a planet using antigravity. Since that anti gravity probably radiates in all directions (and is probably originating on the "bottom" of the ship) it would also force anything inside the ship up and away, creating the illusion of gravity inside the ship, only upside down. Ken Macleod has ships in his novel Newton's Wake which use this same concept. Only problem is that if you enter the ship from the bottom, the antigrav instantly causes you to "fall" upwards to the "floor". Ouch!

EDIT: roughly into: roughly/at the equator
Last edited by A Thing of Eternity on 31 May 2008 19:55, edited 1 time in total.
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SandChigger
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Postby SandChigger » 31 May 2008 19:40

orald wrote:Yes, you win, Chig, have fun...for now... :x

I wasn't aware this was some sort of competition or battle.

I was just trying to make sense of it. Whatever.
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orald
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Postby orald » 31 May 2008 19:45

I can't just admit defeat nicely, you know, I have a reputation to consider. :wink:
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trang
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Postby trang » 28 Jun 2008 09:50

I think the overall question (how this relates to an ixian topic im not sure) is the grace in the way FH approached the technologies of Dune. He didnt go into longwinded explanations about it. The main reasons being it would have taken whole other book.

Dune is set 10k years from the expansion from earth (this time frame im not precise on because BH/KJA books have screwed up my brain so much) but FH does make references to the Butlarian Jihad that could be used for reference.

The technology hurdles for expanding to a million worlds for known human space are so large I couldnt get a complete variable list if I kept at it for a month.

space travel, withstanding Arti-gravity, you have distance, radiation, gravity wells, storms, astroids, comets, oxygen, medical, food, on and on.

Planet colonization another huge problem, different gravities, suitable Planets, Suitable climates, Suitable ecology, Microbes, Native life, native cultures. A lot of this could be explaned away by a portion of the Fermi Paradox, the mediocrity principle. Human expansion only settled on "suitable worlds" of which there should be a large abundance.

He pretty much avoided all this stuff with the assumption that these would have been resolved over that course of time. I think that is pretty graceful way of handling it. The use of the Holtzman effect as an umbrella technoloy,isnt unprecidented, alot of authors do this. A single invention that overcomes a major hurdle, such as gravity, leads to many other things.

I mean just look to the opening sequence of DUNE, you have a people who live on an Ocean world being transfered to a Waterless world. They load up on the highliners, and move instantaneously to DUNE. The issues of a gravity level change, the water issue, the food, defence, I mean FH could have devouted chapter upon chapter to just this one move. He doesnt, he just uses the umbrella that these are details handled basicaly within themselves and rises to the higher level of the story, not being bogged down by the techno 800 lb gorilla.

This is a major pitfall that ruins the Prequel/Sequals, BH/KJA try to explain various things (and skipped a lot of what I have mentioned too)to not much avail.

Its great to speculate on what or wasnt implied or explained, but it seems folks are using a 21st mentality when were talking the 100 or more centuries forward. I, personally, with the stuff I have read over the years couldnt even begin to speculate on the technology advancements.

Hell, lets talk about the tleilaxu and their wonderful genetic talents, that discussion im sure could go on for quite a while. Im not talking about just WAG(wild ass guess) discussion, using whats in the original books and basing it off that, FH doesnt give a lot to go on, other than the overall tech umbrella that these are described and issues resolved within themselves.

On the flip side, I actually enjoy tecnologies explained, it can add a lot to the story, but if the technology overrides that, its not good.

Trang
Last edited by trang on 28 Jun 2008 18:17, edited 1 time in total.
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orald
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Postby orald » 28 Jun 2008 14:27

More like 20k years after our period. And yea, in 20k years I think there's no problem, assuming you have this jump-drive, to colonize and terraform lots and lots of worlds, even with our own limited technology(and don't forget terraforming Dune took, what, 300-350 years of mostly just planting lots of stuff, maybe a third of that time being restricted to secret areas in the deep desert and not working on the whole planet?).

Now take that, make it even 500 years for an especially (initially)inhospitable planet, make that several dozens/hundreds simultaneously in the galaxy and you still have lots of time to terraform thousands of planets.
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Postby waff » 30 Jun 2008 07:52

Look at where our civilization is 20,000 years in the past versus now. I personally like the way FH avoids going into great detail on the technology (what bogs down other SF writers who often really can't escape the pitfall of using our limited vision to predict the future). FH really isn't concerned with the mechanics of a space-faring society, but with the inner religious, cultural, and political dynamics of human civilization that he gets to recast in imaginative ways. We do get glimpses of the great technology that makes all this possible, but it's part of the background scenery, not the point of the book. His novels don't get bogged down in technical explanations of how toilets work on heighliners or how Leto's go-cart works, etc. (I wonder if Guild navigators fart out methane to expel waste....) The Butlerian Jihad also makes it possible for him to downplay the technology and make his universe one that is more timeless and even ancient--a kind of Middle-earth spread out across a galaxy.

But to get back to colonization of planets, it doesn't take that long for a society to settle, change, and then spread out again, so it is not unusual to imagine a settled universe like Dune 20,000 years out. We know there are weather satellites, etc., that aid in the terraforming, so again, FH gives us just enough to speculate how it could happen, and then he can get to the matter at hand in his storytelling.

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Re: Holtzman

Postby distrans » 15 Jan 2013 20:52

in neromancer the author makes a slick nod to rotational gravity as an asside of just how proficent a fat grown ninja on the orbital straylight was;

i think frank would have written some scenes of training for it had he ever thought it was an element of this universe

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Re:

Postby georgiedenbro » 07 Aug 2014 22:05

SandChigger wrote:IT just makes so much more sense to assume that they can use the suspensors to create artificial gravity.

What, though, can we say in light(er ;) ) of this:

The lighter landed with a smoothness that spoke of superb control by Station Four. Odrade knew the moment because a manicured landscape visible in her scanner no longer moved. The nullfield was turned off and she felt gravity. The hatch directly in front of her opened. Temperature pleasantly warm. Noise out there. Children playing some competitive game?

Hmmm....


I think it's fairly clear that this passage refers to suspensors as being used to cancel the gravity of a planet as Odrade's ship descends to land, so that the tidal and G-forces don't affect the passengers and crew, or the objects inside the ship. Since it says "...and she felt gravity" we must conclude that she hadn't felt gravity before that moment, and that therefore the ship didn't have artificial gravity. The suspensors allowed the ship to maintain zero-G until landing, at which point it was turned off to allow normal gravity to have its effect.

A good sci-fi show that spends considerable efforts in inspecting ship and station design without artificial gravity is Babylon 5. In that universe the humans don't initially have artificial gravity tech, and so they deal with it in several ways:

-Large warships have rotating outer rings for crew quarters that create effective gravity. The internal section contains tactical and bridge stations, as well as weapons, and the people there are strapped down at all times.
-Small fighters involve the pilot strapped in.
-Large space stations, like Babylon 5, have a dual rotating structure based on the design of an O'Neill cylinder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_cylinder

While we might expect that with the advent of gravity manipulation tech the Duniverse would therefore have artificial gravity, at the same time no mention is ever made in the books of a piece of technology available that used gravity in its implementation. On the contrary, we see the Holtzman tech as making use only of anti-gravity effects, strangely. Since we don't have any idea how foldspace drives work, we'll just leave that out for the moment. I think it's plausible to suggest that since no one in the Duniverse understood Holtzman's equations they were therefore stuck with the inventions he came up with and no others. If he hadn't worked out artificial gravity before his death, then too bad for everyone else for 10,000+ years.

I expect that all ships in Dune meant for space travel simply had everyone strapped in the whole way. I think there's no chance that ships were designed in cylindrical fashion to effect gravity, since there are many mentions of frigates that can land and take off which would suggest that a cylindrical design would be foolhardy. It is entirely possible that Guild heighliners, which never land as far as we know, use cylindrical rotation, but it's anyone's guess.

While I agree with Chig that Frank could easily have included artificial gravity, it's also evident that Frank was going for the equivalent of a techno-medieval society, and so I think he chose to err on the side of not having a questionable tech, rather than just letting the universe have it for kicks. Having some aspects of Dune life be very primitive, while others are very advanced, makes for a very cool universe. A good example is the Fremen stillsuits, which at first glance appear kind of analog and retro, until we see the Duke learn how they work and realize how sophisticated they are. This is a typical example of the advanced/primitive state of technology after the Jihad, and I'm satisfied with just how Frank presented it.
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