2014-04-28

The Cost of the New Disney Canon II

Just to extend my earlier remarks, let me make the following point.

It doesn't require nefarious plotting to wind up with resurgent inflationism.

True, inflationists have long been known to massage Star Wars material to fit their vision, but there can easily be events that don't require that in the new canon.  Authors and literary types are seldom ones to perform calculations of some idea or other.  

Consider the fate of EU world Gholondreine-β, a waterworld which the Emperor punished by having all of its water transported off the surface and shipped to Coruscant.  The duration is not known precisely, but presumably took much less than the 20 or so years which bracket "Emperor" and "shortly before the Battle of Endor" in the article.

That sounds like a good, awesome sci-fi punishment in one's head.  But if you actually consider the logistics of it, it is completely absurd.

The volume of Earth's oceans is about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers . . . sure, Gholondreine could've been a much smaller planet with very little water (comparatively) actually making it a waterworld, but that's not the impression.

That's 1.4E18 cubic meters, or 1,400,000,000,000,000,000 (1.4 quintillion) cubic meters.   The Death Star is about 120km in diameter, giving it a volume of about 9E14 cubic meters, or 900,000,000,000,000 cubic meters.

Do the math.  That's the volumetric equivalent of about 1550 Death Stars.

By weight, you're looking at having to transport 1,400,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1.4 sextillion, or 1.4E21) kilograms to orbit, assuming 1000 kg/m^3 for water.  .Even just getting it up to 200 kilometers . . . much less transporting it via hyperspace to Coruscant . . . is going to result in planet-killing levels of energy being expended.

That is to say, they wouldn't have to worry about transporting the water after awhile . . . any inefficiencies in their process of boosting the water to orbit would start to render the planet's water gaseous partway through the procedure.   Hell, there'd be plenty of opportunity for inefficiencies before you're even to the boost stage to start screwing things up.

And that's the sort of thing I fear we can expect in the coming years . . . it doesn't have to be by hook or by crook.

Recall the flagrant errors of science in movies in recent years (e.g. GI Joe and the Sinking Ice Attack, as one of many examples), generally silly ideas (red matter in JJ-Trek), and so on, and I daresay that people are generally getting dumber, which is ironic in many ways.   Authors are not immune to this epidemic.

Thus, I fear that it is entirely likely we'll see some utterly absurd plot point or extraneous details that the inflationists will be able to latch onto for dear life.  Indeed, I'd wager JJ will give us a couple of them at least, unless JJ-Trek's absurdities were all Orci's fault.

Yes, as many argue, Star Wars is fantasy, and not "hard" science fiction.  But the Lucas canon remained pretty delightfully consistent for a long while, and thus hard enough for most needs.  Now that the rank of canon is truly being opened up, I think the recent news is not a cause for celebration among the anti-inflationists, whoever they may be, but may instead be a tolling of the bell.

Sorry to be a party-pooper.

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