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Questions tagged [science-fiction]

For questions relating to worlds with a setting of common science-fiction.

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What vehicle would be the best one to start a >1000 km travel in a post apocalyptic zombie situation?

In order to define the best vehicle these inputs have to be taken into account: The zombies are the classical ones, "the walking dead" ones are a perfect example (definitely killed only by headshot, ...
118
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20answers
17k views

Why are there no toilets on the starship 'Exciting Undertaking'?

DISCLAIMER: Any resemblance to other starships (living or dead) is purely coincidental. The starship 'Exciting Undertaking' is a brand new ship about to set off on a five and a bit year mission to ...
115
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17answers
13k views

Which major solar system body could most realistically be artificial?

Which body in the Solar System is the best candidate for being an artificial construct, placed there by a Kardashev Type II Civilization? Some notes: The purpose of this body is to monitor earth, ...
113
votes
35answers
22k views

Why would giant mechs use melee weapons?

Mechs are really just giant usually bipedal walking tin cans with their human pilot inside. I mean, shoot the legs and they can't move much anymore. Not really realistic. Regardless, in a futuristic ...
90
votes
24answers
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Would intelligent life evolve any other body plan than humanoid?

Disclaimer: This question uses some liberal wording to get key ideas across. It's not meant to be academically rigorous, so please try to focus on the ideas and not the exact definitions of the terms ...
86
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23answers
19k views

How do you check if a room behind a door aboard a spaceship has an atmosphere/pressure?

How do you check if a room behind a door aboard a spaceship has an atmosphere and pressure? This is so that you would not accidentally open a door to a room which is open to space. I imagine there ...
85
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21answers
13k views

How to monetize free energy without revealing its existence?

Just last week while developing a new CCTV camera system I accidentally produced a free energy generator. I know, what are the odds? So now I'd like to make some money. Unfortunately, this device is ...
75
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41answers
18k views

What is the fastest way for a robot with superhuman capabilities to make money?

An alien robot comes to Earth and determines that part of his plan here involves geting set up with a lot of cash in as short a time span as possible. He has a number of physical and mental attributes ...
73
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27answers
11k views

Why would a decision making machine decide to destroy itself?

A mad scientist creates a machine that simulates the world with very high precision. The machine is capable of running several slightly different simulations simultaneously, the difference being some ...
70
votes
35answers
14k views

Eternal space battle around a planet. But why? [closed]

The Setting A planet (large continents, mostly steppes, deserts and plains) is settled by nomadic tribes (think Mongols, Tuareg or Apache). The tribes lack written history, but the legends speak of a ...
68
votes
18answers
12k views

Mineral that explodes when cooling down

While playing old games, I encountered a friend I knew from SciFi series and games alike, the Merculite missile. While thinking about what Merculite might actually be (and linking it to a mineral from ...
67
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21answers
14k views

How do we tell if we're living in a virtual reality world?

Since I haven't found anything like this yet. I was reading a novel and it talked about how some people created a 'Artificial Virtual Reality World' where the denizens were Human Artificial ...
64
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19answers
8k views

Where can I transform without being noticed?

I'm just your average person. Not rich, or particularly skilled at anything. Until a few days ago, when (for a reason I can't disclose) I got some amazing superpowers: I can fly, I'm completely ...
61
votes
29answers
11k views

What realistic way could limit an FTL drive to only travelling between stars?

How could a Faster than light drive be limited to only travelling between different solar systems, and not within a solar system? I don't really want to allow travel between planets in the same solar ...
61
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17answers
13k views

Is there any plausible reason for a robot's eyes to glow?

Many sci-fi machines and robots have glowing eyes, though there's no apparent reason why any such thing should be the case. One possible example is something like a cat's eye, where light is ...
58
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39answers
10k views

Dangerous pending task in world managing A.I

I've had this idea for a short novel, at the intersection of the One thousand and one nights and the Multivac (& co) short stories from Asimov. The idea is that there's some kind of super AI that ...
58
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19answers
11k views

How do I make a space battle both realistic, with physics in play such as no sound and weird motion, but also very epic and intense still?

I always wondered what it would look like for a Sci-Fi battle in space to occur if it were a bit more realistic. I don't plan to use any space fighters or anything like that, just big capital ships ...
57
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22answers
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Why can't spaceships go underwater?

It is a somewhat common limitation of spaceships in some universes, that they cannot go underwater. They can land on the planet, take off into orbit, hyperdrive into the next star system, but they ...
57
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10answers
10k views

What is valid evidence in a world with perfect CGI technology?

There are already real-world problems with analyzing whether particular graphic evidence is "photo-shopped" or genuine. In sci-fi technologically advanced future, realistic and perfect computer ...
55
votes
14answers
9k views

Galactic Law Enforcement - Handcuff Alternatives

So I'm building a galaxy with bunch of space-age civilizations and an galactic wide supra-nation. Something similar to the Citadel races in the Mass Effect games. Unlike those games, the most of the ...
55
votes
11answers
17k views

Why do people in Cryogenic sleep not wear clothes?

In a lot of science-fiction stories, there are people who hibernate of sorts in cryosleep. Basically something like the person's body is stored in a container which is then chilled at really really ...
53
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20answers
14k views

Would a fighter pilot with an invincible space ship be able to conquer the galaxy?

Setting Not so long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, there were two civilizations at war. Both were at war because the leaders of both wanted more and more power. Both were advanced and mined the ...
53
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25answers
9k views

What all stops working when I pause time?

Somewhat, not really related. In my young adult story, the main character has a mechanism that allows her to pause time, and do things while everything is frozen. I have no problem 'magic'ing the ...
51
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20answers
10k views

Why would people still use pump-action guns in the future?

9 out of 10 action heroes agree: Repeating a pump-action shotgun looks and feels just plain awesome. But besides the rule of cool, why would we still use pump-action guns in a future scenario 100-200 ...
51
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23answers
11k views

What possible scientific reasons could there be for a vampire to only be killable via wooden stake to the heart?

This excludes metal stakes, knives etc. to the heart, it's not the bleeding out that's the issue. Just for some reason, a wooden stake to the heart ends a vampire. Why? Assume the type of vampire ...
51
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16answers
5k views

What kind of recurring phenomena could cast darkness on a planet for days/weeks at a time?

A century ago, after a catastrophic event on our planet, many of us were were forced to find a new home. There was one world that caught our attention: a tidally-locked blue planet orbiting a red ...
50
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19answers
7k views

Tactics to prepare for an alien invasion when nobody will believe you

This question is focused on what one man could do without the implicit resources on a larger scale. The year is 1980. Paul is a 17-year-old farmer in Iowa, with nothing really to his name besides his ...
49
votes
8answers
5k views

Stopping time, by speeding it up inside a bubble

Imagine I have a device that can stop time for the person who holds it (similar to Bernard's Watch). This device works in a very specific way - it creates a bubble around the user (just large enough ...
48
votes
29answers
12k views

How to explain the use of high-tech bows instead of guns

I'm creating a science fiction dystopian world that takes place about about 50 years in the future. One of the characters for this world is a member a highly sought-after group of mercenaries that I ...
48
votes
12answers
7k views

How would you know your floating island was losing altitude?

The question: What realistic environmental signs would telegraph to the occupants of a floating landmass that their home was slowly losing altitude? The planet: I'm working on a story that takes ...
47
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3answers
20k views

Let’s say a 1 ton (US) sphere of tungsten moving at 99.99% the speed of light hits earth, what happens? As specific as possible

What kind of destruction would it cause? I’m assuming it’d be rather significant, could it shatter a tectonic plate? The crust? How would the oceans fare? Would the planet be able to catch the ...
46
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14answers
8k views

Why is ground warfare smaller scaled than space warfare?

The universe is populated by a decent number of different spacefaring civilisations and races, the largest spanning over hundreds of systems. They have formed relations with each other: Diplomacy, ...
45
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24answers
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Why do aliens who visit us have higher tech than us? Couldn't they wait for us to have it too?

It is a well known fact that if aliens invaded, it would be our puny kill-one-person-then-reload-for-half-a-second-or-more-firearms against their super-cool-ultra-mega-thingy-laser-mumble-quantum-...
45
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18answers
7k views

How to convey the scale of my humanoid without science or units?

I am writing a short story set in a world inhabited by modern humans (Homo sapiens), bulky humans (inspired by Homo Neanderthalensis) and tiny humans (inspired by Homo Floresiensis). In response to ...
42
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28answers
10k views

What distinction could there be between space torpedoes and space missiles?

In the game "Stelaris" torpedoes and missiles are different categories of weapon. Presumably they wanted to include numerous kinds of weapons for the player to chose from. These weapons are all ...
42
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3answers
5k views

So we glassed it, now what?

"Glassing" a planet is a common ultimate tactic in Science Fiction, basically it consists in using high power energy weapons to destroy all life on the planet and reducing the soil and rock of the ...
41
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23answers
14k views

Why are escape pods used instead of transporters whenever an alarm sounds to abandon the ship?

An interstellar spaceship carrying a thousand personnel was attacked by a group of space pirates while crossing the nebula. The nearest habitable planet is several light-hours away. Help will only ...
39
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25answers
8k views

Why would a civilisation choose to inhabit a single enormous vessel instead of maintaining interstellar colonies?

The setting: Very distant future, Earth is long gone/forgotten/just not around anymore. Humanity, whatever it may consist of (people, AI, something in-between) inhabits a single vast generation ship ...
38
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13answers
4k views

How would one destroy a black hole?

Science-Fiction has tools to destroy anything: atoms, molecules, DNA, cellular organisms, multicellular organisms, buildings, streets, cities, countries, continents, planets, and even stars. Some ...
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25answers
14k views

What weapon of mass destruction could theoretically vaporize a whole solar system?

I'm trying to engineer a scenario where a nation wipes out another's home solar system by vaporizing it into a cloud of gas nearly instantly and it engineers a huge controversy over how it happened ...
37
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12answers
9k views

Creature that swims in the solid ground

I have a moment in my story where the main character comes across a planet with "solid" swamps. Let me explain. Basically, there are creatures here that can swim through the ground like it was some ...
37
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16answers
9k views

How do I keep the government from detecting my flying car?

Eureka! Mary Sue has just finished her unobtainium-based levitation engine that should be able to deliver payloads to orbit for less than the price of a Tootsie Roll, and will allow her to start ...
36
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11answers
10k views

Can a space-faring robot still function over a billion years?

This short story, which I've already written, is set in the FAR, FAR FUTURE, where a robotic space probe is exploring as much of the known universe as it can, despite its AI not knowing if its ...
36
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12answers
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How might a collective such as The Borg develop?

In Star Trek the Next Generation the Borg are a collective in which all the people are part of a single mind. What never seems to get talked about is how the Borg first developed into a collective in ...
36
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3answers
6k views

How many plants does it take to breathe?

I'm working on a space story in which an astronaut is travelling to Neptune to validate our CurrentEarth™ corporation's findings regarding our Solar System. The setting is a moving ship similar to the ...
35
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17answers
10k views

An object that is gold in one specific area but becomes worthless if you leave that area?

Let us pretend there is some "sacred city" created by gods, where gold is so common that it is the standard form of currency and everyone has lots of it. But once you try to leave the city with this ...
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13answers
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Is there a liquid that could protect a human inside it from impact?

I am trying to figure out what kind of liquid, if any, can be used to severely impede or slow human motion without killing or severely damaging their bodies (IE if after being submerged in this liquid ...
35
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18answers
14k views

What kind of realistic ranged weapons would be effective in spaceship combat?

So my indomitable army of bunnies have developed space travel and built their first space ship for the exploration of the great universe. However they have a problem! After some consultation with the ...
35
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7answers
4k views

Evidence of spacetime anomaly in local geology?

My current project features a contemporary scientist who is convinced that some sort of spacetime anomaly occurred in a tiny rural Yorkshire, U.K. community circa-1850; he believes a dilapidated old ...
34
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4answers
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The Heisenberg Uncertainty Ray - A Hyper-Scanning Doomsday Weapon

From what I know about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, one of its consequences is that when you learn a great deal about the position of a particle, you greatly increase the uncertainty of the ...