Tech on the Expanse episodes

Serendipity

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I'm thoroughly enjoying viewing series 1 and 2 of the Expanse again. It's a darned good yarn!

Only snag is I have switch my automatic tech assessment part of the brain off. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with some old tech being used if there is a good reason for it e.g. the seat belts being purely mechanical - it avoids power failures leaving people permanently strapped to the chair. I don't mind there being old tech because story-wise it was built way in the past. I get that. I honestly do. But what gets me is new tech that is missing.

For instance the Scopuli reactor is portrayed in the middle of a big space to indicate that it is best not to get too close to it for long periods of time. So it's not nuclear fusion. But nuclear fusion is maybe ten years away from now to having its first commercial reactor built.

Another instance is the apparent lack of meteorite avoidance mechanisms on the Knight - they should be there helping avoid the debris shower from the Canterbury. No sign of them.

So geek switch has to be in off position when I view the Expanse episodes. Anyone else have these kind of issues?
 

tinkerdan

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I'm not sure I'd call it a geek switch as much as a miss-guiding expectation switch.

I mean how many years have we had inside bathrooms and the toilet may have some new geek like differences and changes; however, and honestly, wherever I go they still look the same as they did 67 years ago. I do like the seat cover that hesitates before it quietly closes.

The point though, is: my better half constantly buys these new geeki gadgets for around the house and kitchen and honestly that fancy dance-y can-opener went right into the trashcan the day it arrived and after it broke itself when called to task.

28 or so years ago I worked with mega geeks who were using their Commador 64's to implement an automated house with controls on windows, lamps and doors and today we can do this more easily with our smart phones; however I don't see a lot of people doing it. It's really difficult to tell what will be implemented and what won't in the future and maybe what's missing is just the explanation of why something isn't in use and just how far in detail of that do you wish the author to go when world building.

Even the best and closest to hard science fiction novels require some areas of suspension of disbelief and if I start out with that suspension shut down; turned off. Well I get what I deserve.
 

Robert Zwilling

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If there is a good story, settings, commentary, and I like the acting I will overlook the missing gadgets or lack of good explanations. Expanse is entertaining and there were only a few scenes where I paused it, walked away to do something for a day or so, then took it it off pause again to continue watching. I didn't pay any attention to missing technology, guess if I like the way story goes I just mentally fill in what is missing.

Sometimes when watching Expanse, I "saw" the backgrounds of the scenes as cgi fill ins that lacked imagination, like it is just a blank screen filled in with hardly any thought, probably because it is not needed for the story to work. It would be nice if all the background scenes showed imagination, after all it is just cgi. It gives me the feel of looking at a blank wall instead of scenic scenery.
 

Serendipity

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I'm not sure I'd call it a geek switch as much as a miss-guiding expectation switch.

I mean how many years have we had inside bathrooms and the toilet may have some new geek like differences and changes; however, and honestly, wherever I go they still look the same as they did 67 years ago. I do like the seat cover that hesitates before it quietly closes.

The point though, is: my better half constantly buys these new geeki gadgets for around the house and kitchen and honestly that fancy dance-y can-opener went right into the trashcan the day it arrived and after it broke itself when called to task.

28 or so years ago I worked with mega geeks who were using their Commador 64's to implement an automated house with controls on windows, lamps and doors and today we can do this more easily with our smart phones; however I don't see a lot of people doing it. It's really difficult to tell what will be implemented and what won't in the future and maybe what's missing is just the explanation of why something isn't in use and just how far in detail of that do you wish the author to go when world building.

Even the best and closest to hard science fiction novels require some areas of suspension of disbelief and if I start out with that suspension shut down; turned off. Well I get what I deserve.
I agree that even those science fiction novels closest to trying to predict technology will not get it right (because of the timing of when systems' inventions occur and the unknowns in terms of resources that we will have access to in future - don't worry I'm not going to go into thesis mode here).

However, I do gulp at omissions in the tech that I know have gone well beyond the proof of principle stage in development i.e. their future impact is a extrapolation of what we know today which have already been identified cost-effective to develop and sell. (It's the economics principles that keeps back the gadgets you're talking about, not the tech.)

One example that I'm unhappy about is the design of the vehicles coming from space that land on Earth. A Japanese company has already announced that it intends to build a space elevator within fifty years - let's make that a hundred and fifty years to take into account normal big project delays. The Skylon spaceplane - a sleek supersonic-looking plane - is well into the development stages of the key technologies e.g. engines. Both these concepts have economic viability in a Solar System space-faring future.

From a writer's point of view I can understand it is difficult to cover all technology aspects - you would need a brain like Marvin. But there comes a tipping point when there are too many of these not more up to date technologies to indicate lack of homework in this important for science fiction aspect of the work. That tipping point has been reached for me. I have had to suspend belief in the world-building.

Still a darned good story and am enjoying it (with geek switch in off position).
 

Serendipity

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If there is a good story, settings, commentary, and I like the acting I will overlook the missing gadgets or lack of good explanations. Expanse is entertaining and there were only a few scenes where I paused it, walked away to do something for a day or so, then took it it off pause again to continue watching. I didn't pay any attention to missing technology, guess if I like the way story goes I just mentally fill in what is missing.

Sometimes when watching Expanse, I "saw" the backgrounds of the scenes as cgi fill ins that lacked imagination, like it is just a blank screen filled in with hardly any thought, probably because it is not needed for the story to work. It would be nice if all the background scenes showed imagination, after all it is just cgi. It gives me the feel of looking at a blank wall instead of scenic scenery.
I must admit that until you mentioned it, I hadn't noticed the lack of cgi imagination. But you're right. This would of course add to the lack of tech stuff in the series.
 

Brian G Turner

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One thing that really surprises me is that they have multi-storey open galleries on ship's that experience constant changes in acceleration. Always seemed like a health and safety hazard to me. :)
 

Al Jackson

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For instance the Scopuli reactor is portrayed in the middle of a big space to indicate that it is best not to get too close to it for long periods of time. So it's not nuclear fusion. But nuclear fusion is maybe ten years away from now to having its first commercial reactor built.

Another instance is the apparent lack of meteorite avoidance mechanisms on the Knight - they should be there helping avoid the debris shower from the Canterbury. No sign of them.

So geek switch has to be in off position when I view the Expanse episodes. Anyone else have these kind of issues?
A fusion reactor may be avialble in 10 yeas , but even the 'small' ones being worked on will be too massive for space flight.
However the show is set 200 years in the future (actually that is still a little fuzzy since the books setting is 300 years , and I consider that a better
extrapolation). So one would expect that in 200 years compact fusion reactors will be available.

Well we already have things like Whipple shield for micro meteorite protection for the ISS, I expect that technology to be very mature in 200 years.
Large meteorite strikes on space craft are rare now and I expect that will also be a problem solved in the time frame.

In fact any technology for space flight one can think of right now will have evolved in 200 or 300 years.

The guys who write the books are tech savvy , and I know the show runners have done a little consulting about future technology but do wish they had done even more. A group of young SF readers from Cal Tech and MIT could really enhance the shows extrapolated technology.
For instance , as far back as the 1950s, Robert Heinlein was invoking some kind of antimatter or hybrid antimatter propulsion system.
I expect in 200 years there to be antimatter factories, you only need grams of the stuff.
… antimatter augmented fusion propulsion has been in the technical literature for some time now, it does not seem to be used on the show.
 

ctg

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A fusion reactor may be avialble in 10 yeas , but even the 'small' ones being worked on will be too massive for space flight.
You mean the Lockheed Martin's mini fusion reactor rather than gigantic ones? Either one of them should be ready for testing within ten years.

The guys who write the books are tech savvy , and I know the show runners have done a little consulting about future technology but do wish they had done even more. A group of young SF readers from Cal Tech and MIT could really enhance the shows extrapolated technology.
I'm not so sure. They might still have a googly eyes rather than possessing wisdom and understanding of how things would evolve in the next two hundred years. Believe me, you'd need some experience to be a futurist.



https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/compact-fusion.html
 

Al Jackson

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You mean the Lockheed Martin's mini fusion reactor rather than gigantic ones? Either one of them should be ready for testing within ten years.



I'm not so sure. They might still have a googly eyes rather than possessing wisdom and understanding of how things would evolve in the next two hundred years. Believe me, you'd need some experience to be a futurist.



Compact Fusion
I think the show has talked to some grad students at Cal Tech... I also know one of the show runners has a PhD in Physics which has got to be a first.
I think the show does just fine as it is, but I do have the feeling that 200 years in the future the human factors set ups would be even 'slicker' than is shown. On the show they have what seems 'touch screen' human interface with the ship controls... I think in 200 years* (300 years in the books) the human factors may be more direct neural interface , tho one does have to have some dramatic narrative content to that.
O well, my main thought is that , I guess, the book authors are not up on propulsion systems like antimatter augmented fusion.


 
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