Atomic Rockets

I just spent an entire morning reading Atomic Rockets.

I suggest that you do, too (even if it’s not morning). Check out the sidebar links.

Anything that starts out by deconstructing Heinlein’s “Torchships” is gonna be fantastic, in my book (even if the analysis is kind of depressing, in the end).

[I grew up on a diet of E E “Doc” Smith, John W Campbell, and a lot of Heinlein. I’m still a sucker for planet-bashing and all the presumably keen stuff you could do with high power vacuum tubes. We’ve lost something in the transistor age.]

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5 Responses to Atomic Rockets

  1. Tom says:

    Damn you, blast you, curse you to infinity and beyond! – for posting this huge lump of wonder so late on a Sunday. Such intra & extra-linked goodness too, I’ve only scratched the surface and already spun off into a nest of new browser tabs of physics, atomics, sci-fi and the ecology of Colorado (the http://xkcd.com/214/ effect)

  2. JohnH says:

    Ah, yes the website of Winchell Chung… He was the artist for some of the famous old Metagaming Microgames – specifically OGRE and Warpwar. Great stuff on his website!

  3. James Cheap says:

    “Yield to temptation…it may not pass your way again!”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  4. MikeA says:

    — all the presumably keen stuff you could do with high power vacuum tubes. We’ve lost something in the transistor age.

    Hey, if I recall correctly, the Spindizzies made the transition from tube to (Germanium) transistors OK. Maybe you just like the fact that you can abuse a tube until the screen-grids glow red and it will forgive you, but try to teach a transistor how to “grit it out” and the little snot just dies on you.

    One thing I ponder about “the transistor age” is that my HP scanner still claims to be “warming up”, when we all know it’s just going through a hideously sub-optimal boot sequence. To think that we went straight through the “turn on the radio and it plays instantly” era in about 50 years.

  5. landon says:

    @Mike: Yeah, I forgot about Cities in Flight. They started out flying with big-ass vacuum tubes, then flipped to solid state (James Blish wanted to use germanium instead of gold as a trade metal). In one story a character runs into some old tube tech (IMT! Made the Sky! Fall!) and has to make it work again.

    I wonder how much other tube-to-transistor transition SF there is? Asimov had his “positronic brains” and the slate that Hari Seldon used, and Heinlein was careful to talk about “circuits” and “neuristors”. In other words, it’s probably not going to be the more popular authors of the 50s and 60s.

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