Tau Zero (Free E–pub) × Poul Anderson
This CLASSY SF CLASSIC concernimg a cadre of colonists setting sail to colonize a compatible star using an interstellar Bussard Ramjet is a superior sample of Hard science fiction For those of you unscienceynon nerdy types who are unfamilar with what a Bussard Ramjet is I have put together the following DETAILED xplanation which should Aramaic Bowl Spells: Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Bowls Volume One explainverythingmake sensegreat My overall rating is
REALLY BASED ON BALANCING WHAT I THOUGHT WERE SOME based on balancing what I thought were some wrecking and very well described science fiction concepts with some pretty weak bordering on dull characters that prevented me from Xenophon And His World (Historia Einzelschriften) ever being truly drawn into the narrative tension of the plot I figured I would just lay out the good and the bad and let you take from it what you willTHE GOOD Poul Anderson does a phenomenal job of introducing and describing some REALLY REALLY BIG IDEAS mostly centering around relativity and theffect of high rates of speed on the subjective passage of time Two things I want to praise Poul Anderson for at the outset are 1 his knack for Geography of the Gaze: Urban and Rural Vision in Early Modern Europe explaining clearly and understandably the scientific concepts surrounding relativity without bogging down the story and 2 proving that you can do hard SF in under 200 pages and still make the story feel EPIC in scope The basic plot concerns a prototype starship called the Leonora Christine thatmploys a Bussard ramjet and is intended to transport a crew of 50 colonists to a distant star system in the hopes of setting up a new colony I was curious about what a Bussard ramjet might look like and found the following picture that I thought I would share NERDY NOTE The red gas in the front is the hydrogen being collected from space that then gets compressed to the point where nuclear fusion occurs and creates the nergy for propulsion that you see represented in the rearSo this propulsion system allows for travel at a high percentage of the speed of light which as a result of special relativity causes time dilation for the crew This means that while the crew will spend about 5 years on the journey about 33 years will have PASSED ON EARTHAT THIS POINT IF YOU HAVE ANY on Earthat this point if you have any it might be a good idea to take some Given the speeds that the ship travels at it takes a very long time to both accelerate and decelerate In fact it is intended that the first 25 years of the journey will be spent speeding up and the last 25 years will be spent slowing downI don t want to give away any spoilers so I will just say that things get very interesting and Poul Anderson takes the reader on an pic journey across time and space Big stuff interesting stuff and very cool stuff For this aspect of the story45 to 50 stars THE BAD The bad can really be summed up pretty One Wild Weekend easily The characters are weak two dimensional and you never carenough about them to be sucked into the story when problems arise You have your crew from different backgrounds with various uirks and issues none of which are very interesting or compelling However since the book is less than 200 pages long I am willing to be forgiving than I would be if this was longer and I was forced to spend time with the crew in order to get to the good parts Plus this really is an idea book and so I understand the characters being little than filler Still they could have been done much better and so I give this aspect of the story20 stars and a well deserved FACEPALM OVERALLOverall I gave this 35 to 40 stars because I thought the awesomeness of the SF ideas than compensated for the weak characters specially given how the book is under 200 pages Definitely worthy of the title classic and one I Highly Recommend Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 1971 Nominee Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Elocity When she attains light speed tau zero itself the disparity between ship time and xternal time becomes almost impossibly great Eons and galaxies hurtle by and the crew of the Leonora Christine speeds into the unknow.
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According to James Blish Tau Zero is the ultimate hard science fiction novelFor readers with a background in physics and math there s certainly generous helping of science for Naturally Naughty Wicked Willing example Precisely because there is an absolute limiting speed at which light travels in vacuo likewise neutrinos there is an interdependence of space time matter andnergy The tau factor F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby enters theuations If v is the uniform velocity of a spaceship and c the velocity of light then tau Walled (The Line, euals here the author provides the mathematicaluation The closer that v comes to c the closer tau comes to zeroFor non science types like myself there s Cruel Attachments: The Ritual Rehab of Child Molesters in Germany enough conceptual framework to understand what s going on with a rocket ship moving through space Two key points 1 traveling close to the speed of light time bends So the universe and the people back onarth can age 100 years while the crew in the ship only age say 1 month 2 when the crew on board ncounters an unexpected force field the ship incurs damage propelling it to move at greater and greater acceleration with no possibility of a return trip to
is xactly what happens to the Leonora Christine and its crew 25 men and 25 women on its mission to colonize a distant planet beyond our solar system If you can click into Poul Anderson s sf vision Tau Zero makes for an xciting outer space adventure Here s some mostly non science stuff readers can look forward toALL NATIONS UNITEDIn this future world Sweden is the leading global power The crew is made up of a rainbow of nationalities a true international crowd from countries such as Sweden China Russia US Germany Tempting Fate even a captain from Antarctica Andach of the 50 women and men aboard have xpertise within the fields of science and technology ARTThose who have talent in the arts are provided with ample opportunity to xpress themselves Reymont the captain watches as molecular biologist Emma Glassgold sketches out a mural that will One Giant Leap eventually be filled with forests and lakes Additionally the rocket builders back onarth had the foresight to include aesthetic considerations all of the residential and recreational decks its a huge rocket ship the size of a skyscraper are covered with a green material that s as springy as grassGAMESThe crew can keep themselves in top shape by swimming in the pool or playing vigorous games like handball where at low gee players can virtually walk up the walls making for spectacular play I bet it does I d like up the walls making for spectacular play I bet it does I d like see a film of handball played at low gravity NUDITY AND SEXWell beyond the 21st century these fit youthful women and men have little social inhibition about undressing and being in the nude Same goes for sex at least for starters MORALS AND RELATIONSHIPSI want a decent marriage Glassgold said with a flick of anger and as many children as God gives me But they will know who their father is It doesn t hurt if I don t play any ridiculous game of musical beds while we travel We have Apocalyptic Cartography enough girls aboard who do Over time relationships are formed and fidelity isxpected In this way Poul Anderson presents two overarching dramas theearthThis is xactly what happens to the Leonora Christine and its crew
SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERS ESPECIALLY THE DISRUPTION IN PLANS CAUSEDchallenges ncounters specially the disruption in plans caused the force field and the unfolding dramas of romance and relationships among the men and women Keep in mind they are together in the Leonora Christine for years with the prospect of years to come After awhile A Bride for McCain even a giant rocket ship can feel claustrophobic DISCOVERYAstronomers take this uniue space travel opportunity to gather critical details about the universe heretofore unavailable gamma ray spectra among others Yet again an additional dimension of the novel appealing for those interested in the sciences DREAM AND HALLUCINATION Th. Thepic voyage of the spacecraft Leonora Christine will take her and her fifty strong crew to a planet some thirty light years distant But because the ship will accelerate to close to the speed of light for those on board. ,
Ere s an apparatus on board where one lies down relaxes and is hooked up to circuitry producing Heart and Soul / Almost Heaven electronic stimulation to the brain to inducextraordinarily intense and lengthy dreams and hallucinations This practice is a way to ffectively deal with the sensory deprivation as a conseuence of years confined within a ship Thus in this manner many of the crew are able to retain their sanity I might add here there are no direct references in the novel regarding drugs uite a development recognizing the widespread use of regarding drugs uite a development recognizing the widespread use of vast variety of drugs both legal and illegal currently very much part of daily life in countries like the US HUMAN NATUREMany are the reflections on human nature and humankind s place in the universe At one point a crew member shares this thought A shipful of witches devils vampires goblins bogles and spooks screaming their way down the sky toward the Black Sabbath Well aren t we That s one way of looking at it however I don t think I m giving away too much by saying Poul Anderson njoys his sf stories complete with a number of space heroes Pick up a copy of Tau Zero and read all about itAmerican science Fiction author Poul Anderson 1926 2001 Who can we trust with a monopoly of the planet killer weapons and unlimited powers of inspection and arrest Why a country big and modern nough to make peace keeping a major industry but not big nough to conuer anyone lse or force its will on anyone without the support of a majority of nations and reasonably well thought of by veryone In short Sweden Poul Anderson Tau Zero faster faster faster to the future or to death fascinating ideas less than fascinating xecution characters are often tedious yet still manage to be surprisingly real and at times ven moving overall dry thoughtful mournful mind boggling a word that i probably use too freuently when writing about sci fi and in the A Love To Remember end rather uplifting that said this is sadly a somewhat forgettablexperience and i just read it this year i think for something to really pop for me i need the intricacy of ideas to be paralleled to some xtent with depth of characterization andor complexity of narrative perhaps this is my bad Poul Anderson doesn
"T Understand Special Relativity Very "understand Special Relativity very an interstellar ramscoop spaceship can t carry on accelerating indefinitely for all sorts of reasons His understanding of General Relativity is ven worse Even if the Universe is cyclical whatever would it mean to be outside the monobloc during the Big Crunch You d be outside the UniverseWell an SF writer s normal solution to problems like these is to add some sex and violence and it works here too Sort of If you re into stuff like this you can read the full reviewSFional Lorentz Transformations Tau Zero by Poul Anderson Consider a single light year is an inconceivable abyss Denumerable but inconceivable At an ordinary speed say a reasonable pace for a car in megalopolitan traffic two kilometers per minute you would consume almost nine million years in crossing it And in Sol s neighborhood the stars averaged some nine light years part Beta Virginis was thirty two distant Nevertheless such spaces could be conuered In Tau Zero by Poul AndersonYeah I m aware of the twin paradox and how Special Relativity alone doesn t account for the returning twin being younger at the time I remember wondering specifically whether one of the main criticism of Tau zero ie that the crew of the ship should observe the universe as being slower relative to them while they re accelerating not sped up as it is in the book was on the nose Not that most people think that special relativity is simple but in fact it is Fear of Diversity: The Birth of Political Science in Ancient Greek Thought even trickier than is apparent the first time you meet it. Subjective time will slow and the journey will be of only a few years' durationThen a buffeting by an interstellar dustcloud changesverything The ship's deceleration system is damaged irreperably and soon she is gaining .