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Old February 15 2013, 06:17 PM   #11
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Location: North America
Re: Aircraft carriers & realism in space

Christopher wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Successful jamming or any other interruption of communication is all it takes to render remotely piloted drones ineffective. In science fiction, the sensibilities of the author determine whether fighters are practical in-universe. For example, AI was not an option in nuBSG, since it was too easy for the Cylons to usurp, and the consequences too grave.
But surely it would be more interesting for a science fiction writer to portray a new mode of combat specific to space and future technology, rather than fudging space and future technology in order to justify clinging to WWII or Top Gun fighter-combat tropes.
That depends.

If it's done interestingly and imaginatively, then I wholeheartedly agree! I'm always interested in looking at science fiction that explores how the human condition might change under the impact of hypothetical technology.

On the other hand, if there's a heavy-handed and unfounded bias behind the shaping of that hypothetical technology, then that's a lot less interesting. The history of warfare has shown that even obsolete weapons matter, especially in particular instances. For a humorous example in SF film, from the boot camp in Starship Troopers, consider the throwing knife that keeps the hand from pushing the button. All humor aside, knives matter, even in the nuclear age.

Plenty of people find Star Wars interesting, so the idea that human-piloted fighters in space is per se uninteresting is a dog that don't hunt, as the saying goes.

While it's clear that it typically has been that way, it doesn't follow that the only reason to retain human-piloted fighters in SF would be to cling to WWII/Top Gun tropes. I mean, suppose there really are human-piloted fighters in space in the real world 500 years from now. Figuring out how they might actually be deployed, and why, would be an exercise worthy of applying one's imagination, yes? It might not look anything like Top Gun, even from afar. Maybe no one lives long enough to be an ace anymore. Maybe computer viruses and jamming are so effective that there simply is no alternative.

Kirk and Spock used bows and arrows against a Klingon with a hand phaser, and that Klingon was killed by a similarly primitive weapon, effectively wielded. The Enterprise was once even vulnerable to a real world interceptor in the 1960's, requiring the use of her tractor beam.

It's simply unreasonable to argue that fighter craft have no place at all ever in the Star Trek universe. But I'm not looking for Star Trek to imitate Star Wars, if that's what you're getting at.
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