18 May 2006

Sci-Fi story idea

I get in the most interesting discussions c/o sclerotic_rings. The latest one is about colony ships, or self-sustained man-made artificial environments, whatever you feel like calling them. Think of things like 2001, Ring World, and Dyson Spheres. I got to talking with galbinus-caeli about configurations of them, and concerns such as precession. We observed that although energy is near-limitless, power is not. Now, that gave me an idea for a short story - I haven't written enough lately.

A colony ship is built around some star or other. (Maybe later in the story it's a dying red giant, that could account for energy issues.) Though energy is essentially limitless (if you have enough time), how fast you can get it (power) is not. The limit is set by the area of the solar panels and their efficency. Because of the limit, the builders (maybe a mythical first generation of inhabitants?) designed the system so that the power priority is to life-sustaining processes. For example, maintaining the spin (and therefore gravity), purifying air, light for hydroponics. However, it was built to be overrideable, and a few generations ago the colonists/inhabitants voted to do so to sustain some aspect of their lifestyle. The current generation is now seeing the effects of the poor power management.

So I decided I'd have a little fun with this. I've got the outline up on PBwiki here, and if you feel like contributing, go right ahead!

1 comment:

Galbinus_Caeli said...


I like the idea of exploring the consequences of poor energy prioritization on future generations.