| UP (discussion topics) |

On Cherryh's 'Inside Outer Space' article (topic: the implications of space travel for civilizations, esp. regarding warfare)



view full message
>Date: Tue, 07 Sep 93 01:44:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist\Pride
(...) In my search for Cherryh lit crit, I checked out INSIDE OUTER SPACE which has an article by Cherryh in it, in which she explains the uselessness of planets to a space-faring species. I'll excerpt interesting passages if anyone is interested, with the caveat that they will be the passages I am interested in.

(...)
njs  6-SEP-1993 21:13  


view full message
>Date: Thu, 09 Sep 93 13:52:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/INSIDE OUTER SPACE
INSIDE OUTER SPACE, edited by Sharon Jarvis;Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., NY;1985. ISBN 0-8044-2411-X. Paper back: ISBN 0-8044-6310-7. Includes, besides the chapter by Cherryh, chapters by Parke Godwin, Ron Goulart, Stuart David Schiff, Carter Scholz, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Marshall B. Tymn, Jarvis, Lloyd Biggle, Jr., and Geo. Alec Effinger. Low blood pressure? Read "Inside the Gretto, and Out," by Scholz.
njs  9-SEP-1993 08:57 


view full message
>Date: Thu, 09 Sep 93 21:51:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/CJC on Planets
C.J. Cherryh, "Goodbye Star Wars, Hello Alley-Oop", INSIDE OUTER SPACE, pp. 17-19

Planets are a commodity of value at two stages of a humanoid species's existence: either as a cradle or as retirement home. Otherwise taken, their value is negligible, and the preponderance of them - taken with moons, moonlets, asteroids, rings and such - might well be classified as navigational hazards rather than prizes of great value....

The fact is that planets produce little that is unique, and certainly very little that would justify the expense of frequent dives into the planetary gravity well to bring the item out. Water, metals of all sorts, soil, light, power, agriculture - all these things are potentially more available in space than on a world, by the example of our own rather ordinary G class star. Artificial satellites can be built to contain farms that boast real dirt...Space stations can be aquatic or residential...

You will gather I do not particularly hold with conquer-the-planets tales. I just can't figure out why a species that has gotten out of its own native gravity well and gone interstellar in any big way will EVER be motivated to use a planet other than as a source of exotica such as woods, perfumes, native crafts, artwork - in short, the things a planetary biology will produce....But can woods from Earth outvalue those of Tau Ceti II? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Can they be worth a war? I doubt it....



view full message
>Date: Fri, 10 Sep 93 18:37:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/Future Topics
I have sent you a sample of the stuff in Cherryh's article. I have another one ready to go that I am sure will be of General Interest, as Penrod would say. However, CJC has a Whole Bunch of stuff on interstallar warfare that gets quite technical, at least to my way of thinking. (I just keep sacrificing those feathery chuckies while I read, hoping some of it will penetrate.) Typing it in is no problem for TFFONS (The Flying Fingers of Nancy Silberstein), but I do feel the need for some sort of authority from on high before inflicting lengthier excerpts on Cherryhlist. What sort of authority? A vigorous show of hands? Jo's blessing? I'm not sure, but I'll know it when I see it.

(...)
njs  10-SEP-1993 13:53 


view full message
>Date: Fri, 10 Sep 93 18:18:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/CJC on Aggression
C. J. Cherryh, "Goodbye Star Wars, Hello Alley-Oop," INSIDE OUTER SPACE, pp. 19-20

Humanity...has reached that level at which it can destroy life on its own planet, which is precisely the technological level at which it can escape the planet. As a natural concomitant to our own technological expansion, we are learning not only tolerance of other kinds, but their value. From being able to destroy the world, we must consciously and daily refrain. It seems reasonable that any species that hopes to get off its planet must reach such consciousness of power and responsibility...or kill itself off before it can get off-planet.

Random aggression is therefore a trait subject to severe culling BEFORE the starfaring stage, and must be somewhat rarer than some might suspect.

Purposeful aggression is subject to the same strictures.

It is possible, still, that there might be some aggressive species or totally xenophobic species that would seek war for its own sake.

And there may be other species, of course, who will have to study a long time to learn what the word war means at all, species whose patterns of aggression are very divergent from ours and so specific to particular situations situations that they are not species-threatening; or species whose responses are totally bizarre from our viewpoint.

With such beings, conflicts might take many shapes.

view full message
>Date: Mon, 13 Sep 93 17:50:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/CJC on War in Space
ibid, p.20-21.

Why would (a species) fight?... Consider...a war in which not only the battle lines but the bases are constantly shifting. Even stars change positions relative to each other, and smaller bodies whirling at different rates about a single star do confound the planning.

Between stars, you really have to plan strategy in advance, launching your ships on runs that will take them an average five to ten years to complete. You will get information that is at least five years old. And ships at high velocities can come and go inside your "lines" completely undetected.

How do you retain control and command of your own forces when all a ship knows of its government or mission is what the captain says? After all, he or she is all the authority the crew sees for years.

How do you protect a solar system when a ship inbound at .9 cee travels so fast it can reach the sun from the Earth in about ten minutes and chase the wavefront of its own communications so close that it would arrive across ninety-three million miles only a minute behind its own message that it was inbound?...

And if your own ships are under way in another direction (when you learn of an attack), they have to get rid of all their velocity before they can even begin to advance back toward the intruder.

So your planet/station/mining base was just struck - not with laser; wasteful of energy. It's more efficient to boost up some cheap rock to .9 cee and let fly with it. Cannonballs. What doesn't burn up in atmospheric friction is going to hit with the kind of impact that formed the Arizona meteor crater and the one in Siberia. If you do that often enough near major cities, civilization is done.

view full message
>Date: Tue, 14 Sep 93 17:20:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/CJC on Warfare2
ibid, pp. 22-23.

Starships which can travel trans-cee will present different problems.... First of all you have to find 'em - and that applies not alone to discovering which of fifteen hundred stars within forty light-years of earth was chosen by the ship you're hunting - or whether it's simply off in deep space, sitting and waiting. No, "finding 'em" can also apply to locating a ship in your own solar system.

If we were hunting an alien ship that arrived this instant within the perimeters of our own solar system, it might take over four hours for its deliberate signal to reach us. If it is traveling at .9 cee it can be well outside Pluto's orbit before we even knew it was there and gone. If it is trans-cee - no hope of finding it at all. And if we are two near-cee ships trying to fight each other in our solar system, a number of very strange things have to be taken into account.
Regarding the following paragraph, see also the spinoff discussion:

Sublight, we all exist by Einstein's rules.... That's the law. If we stand imprudently EVA on the bow of a starship at .9999 cee and fire a pistol, we notice a disturbing phenomenon: the bullet will reach its relatavistic limit instantly and hang there time-stopped just in front of us, infinitely massive because of its velocity (as we are) and traveling within our little packet of reality - because nothing in Einsteinian space can exceed cee. It and we go on together in the same moment. Explosive missiles or lasers fired just ahead of your bow will reach your target less than .0001 split second before you do. You might as well ram the opposing ship as fire on their tail....

If they're coming toward you, on the other hand, you'll never know it. Your radar can't pick them up in advance. Neither can anything else that depends on matter and particles. Take comfort. Odds do say in an area as big as a solar system you'll probably miss each other entirely.

If the enemy is behind you, you can fire missiles aft and let them drop back into their ship/time-packet/wave front. Things can drop DOWN from cee....

Whatever you've fired off insystem, incidentally, does not "fall" or go away; it keeps traveling at the same speed. Forever. You might conceivably run into your own fire; and certainly you can run into friendly fire by accident, not to mention what the enemy lets off. Space battle will mean keeping track of every beam and projectile fired, no matter by whom or how long ago, because if you meet it at a great speed (yours or its) - just remember the way a .9 cee rock hits a planet. Big crater. No ship.

view full message
>Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 18:45:01 -0400
>From: "Nancy Silberstein" <silbersteinn@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Cherryhlist/CJC on Warfare III
INSIDE OUTER SPACE, "Goodbye Star Wars, Hello Alley-Opp," pp. 24 - 25.

(F)or cause of war, (there is) always the act of a lunatic, a pirate, a dissenter, or an entity with motives arising from nonhuman biology and culture. And that might entail one of the most difficult of decisions - to determine whether the isolated ship attack that took out New Chicago was the act of a lunatic, a prankster, a criminal, or the calculated policy of a nonhuman government which might differ in...motive from anything ever encountered.

Military strategy depends on certain assumptions, one of the most basic of which is that we are fighting others who respond to the same stimuli and react predictably. Consider all these possibilities:

A feint might bring all-out attack.

NOT to make a feint might cause the potential enemy to consider us an easy mark and might bring all-out attack.

To accept the damage might put us at moral advantage with the alien authorities.

The attack must be returned in exact measure as given to induce respect.

The attack must be returned a hundredfold because we will not get another chance.

The enemy has no allies and does not understand negotiation at all.

The enemy is a primitive member of a vast alliance embracing fifteen hundred star systems and employing technology far in advance of ours.

The aliens are retaliating in a measured way for damage accidentally inflicted by the contact team. They do not treat individual death as important, basing their own selfhood on the social unit, and they do not comprehend the extent to which humanity resents the loss of New Chicago.

The aliens have no social unit. Reproducing by fission, they are absolutely solitary and were brought into space by imprudent traders. Now they commit totally random actions, each according to its peculiar mindset. Only that very distant trader-species can deal with them....

Interspecies war might be the most expensive of all, and very possibly without sensible or understandable issues. In such a war, humankind might never know why it had been fought, or even, at the conclusion, which side had won.

(Final installment!)

view full message
>From: David Zink <zink@panix.com>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1993 04:29:57 -0400 (EDT)
(...)

CJ wrote:
> INSIDE OUTER SPACE, "Goodbye Star Wars, Hello Alley-Opp,"
> Random aggression is therefore a trait subject to severe culling BEFORE the 
> starfaring stage, and must be somewhat rarer than some might suspect.
Actually, I'd have said that random aggression must be at least inversely proportional to personal power ... a situation easily observable on the streets of New York (outside my window...).

(...) CJ again:
> Whatever you've fired off insystem, incidentally, does not "fall" or go 
> away; it keeps traveling at the same speed.  Forever.  You might 
> conceivably run into your own fire; and certainly you can run into friendly 
> fire by accident, not to mention what the enemy lets off.  Space battle 
> will mean keeping track of every beam and projectile fired, no matter by 
> whom or how long ago, because if you meet it at a great speed (yours or 
> its) - just remember the way a .9 cee rock hits a planet.  Big crater.  No 
> ship.
This on the other hand is all accurate. With the caveat that without FTL, one needn't worry about running into one's own laser fire. (one's allies, however ...)

Actually I take it back--she's kind of ignoring the effect of gravity. Lot's of the stuff you fire will fall into the sun. You're falling too, however, so it will look like it is standing still.

CJ again:
> ibid: pp. 24 - 25.
> The aliens have no social unit.  Reproducing by fission, they are 
> absolutely solitary and were brought into space by imprudent traders.  Now 
> they commit totally random actions, each according to its peculiar mindset. 
>  Only that very distant trader-species can deal with them....
I can't believe y'all let this little gem blow through without comment.

(...)
	-- David
(...)

Copyright by the authors of the individual messages.
HTML formatting by Andreas Wandelt .