Monday, November 3, 2014

The Long Wait, by Allen M. Steele

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(Hard SF; Arkwright) Dhanista's family has dedicated itself to supporting Earth's first starship, Galactique, from their base on Earth. As she grows up, her life is intertwined with events that happen to the starship. (20,000 words; Time: 1h:06m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended
Recommended By: Readers

This is the third episode in the Arkwright series, but it stands alone pretty well.

"," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 01|15, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

There isn't a real story here; this is a tale in which thing just happen for no particular reason. Most of it's pretty dull, unless you were related to the people involved somehow.

But the worst thing is that every aspect of the science in the story is bad. Really bad.

It says that by the time the Galactique reached the orbit of Neptune, it was already going 25% the speed of light. Using a relativity calculator, we can see that would require the ship to accelerate at 70g, which is absurd. At 1g, it would take 90 days to reach 25% c and would cross 11 light-days.

The beamsat is a bad idea because the same force that accelerates the Galactique will push the satellite in the other direction. Such a thing on the moon would make far more sense.

The Galactique makes a close pass by another star system en route to its destination. But Gliese 832 is nowhere near the line from Earth to Gliese 667.

At 0.5 light speed, the time dilation is 87%. That is, 100 days on Earth would be 87 days on the Galactique. The story claims there is much greater time dilation. It's similarly confused about the doppler effect and the effect of aberration.

There's no way that an asteroid the size of 2099 NA-2 could be undetected until just ten weeks before impact with Earth. The plot requiring the government to hide the truth from the public is lame. No one considers a stand-off nuclear blast to change the course. Nor can an object be "captured by Earth's gravity well."

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01|15)
Allen M. Steele Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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