To Warp or not to Warp

To Warp or not to Warp

When I first set to work on writing Empire, I was stuck with a problem in how I wanted The Kallans to navigate around the universe. Science fiction is full of many interesting ways of transporting people places, from warping and beaming in Star Trek, to the comical Somebody Else’s Problem field from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

For me, there was a lot of pull towards the concepts of Star Trek, the idea of warping space seems the more plausible solution. At the same time I didn’t want to simply pull into my books unchanged. Changing name seemed an idea that might work, and so after playing around with some names, I came up with the idea of the Astraldrive engines, or AD for short. It sounded a bit more technological than simply falling to the idea of stardrives as is often used in other sci-fi books.

Then came the next problem… just how fast would I let them travel, and how would I measure that? I played around with some ideas that would allow for a scaling of speed, but wouldn’t create an upper limit as quickly. I also wanted time to pass on the ship, travel around the galaxy shouldn’t be instantaneous.

I settled on the idea of a scale that went up by the power of 3 with each whole number. So what does that translate to? AD1 is the speed of light. AD2 is three times the speed of light, AD3 is nine times (thee times AD2) the speed of light, etc. So why did I settle on the power of 3 for the increase?

Star orbiting a planet
How long would it take…?


In the book Empire, there is a discussion between some of the characters about the AD speed, and noticeably the leap forward in technology on the Kallan flagship. This jump in the newest ship in the Kallan fleet allowed them to move infrastructure around the expanding Kallan empire quicker than they had been able to before, to respond to problems quicker. I noticed that if I wanted to keep Kalla as distant from Earth as I wanted, then it would require faster ships. But scaling up the speed too much faster made the journeys too insignificant. I wanted the Empire to travel so much faster in contrast to the other ships in the fleet. Increasing by the power of 3 worked the most effectively.

So what does the equation look like, to calculate the speed, simply do the following (with c = equalling the speed of light, and a the AD speed):


So when you next read an AD speed, time and distance will have been created using that formula…

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