Collision by Mark Healy


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Post May 31, 2004, 04:43:06 PM

Collision by Mark Healy

This is a pretty good science fiction yarn, leaning toward the hard science end of the spectrum, but with a strong element of human conflict. The crisis came from an unexpected angle -- I was expecting either (a) First Contact, with Rogue turning out to be a worldship/spome, or (b) the disaster-flick angle, with the Mjolnir endangered by unexpected effects of the planetary collision. Mr. Healy does a competent job of establishing the characters, so Hobb's choice seems plausible (if psychopathic).<br><br>Minor quibbles: (a) The planets would likely begin to fracture due to gravitational stresses before the actual impact (as our Moon would if its orbit decayed); (b) I can't believe the navigational computer on Undertow would let somebody aim the ship through a solid object. I mean, Airbus fly-by-wire systems kick up a fuss if they think the pilot is maneuvering too abruptly.<br><br>The Convenient (although jammed) disposal chute seems to be modeled on the ones on the original starship Enterprise (without which more than one phaser on overload would have made a mess). I guess the designers figured that with all the crap floating around in the accretion disk, Mjolnir's garbage wouldn't make a significant difference.<br><br>Anyway, an interesting blend of science fiction (featuring a scientific mission!) and human conflict.<br><br>
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

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Post May 31, 2004, 07:24:37 PM

Re: Collision by Mark Healy

Thanks for the comments Robert. You make some very good points.<br><br>I've approached the science in 'Collision' from a layman's terms, with my aim to make things plausible if not ruthlessly factual. ;) However elements such as artificial gravity on the decks remain unexplained and I've taken a poetic licence in those cases.<br><br>My thoughts on the Nav: because of the rapid escape, there was no time to let the Nav plot the course. In this case, it's doing nothing more than flying blind in a manual mode of operation. The response to encountering an obstacle would be to sound an alarm and let the pilot take over - which happened - though the 'pilot' was indisposed at the time.<br><br>But let's face it - not a very good Nav system. :)<br><br>-Mark

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