Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

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Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » December 31st, 2020, 7:09 pm

I'm brainstorming a new projecr. It's a space fantasy--emphasis on the fantasy part. I don't want to make another Star Wars or Star Trek, so I'm steering away from futuristic technology as much as possible and focusing more on the magical side of things. For that, I need as many ideas for unconventional space travel as I can get. I have a few ideas already, but I'd love to hear if you guys can think of any.

The only rule is that it can NOT involve wormholes.

1. Thunderbirds. Aka, giant space eagles. Certain planets have massive storms never stop or weaken, and the thunderbirds live in those storms. I won't go too deep into it, but all those storms are actually one storm that exists in multiple places in a sort of time/space paradox...thing....and the thunderbirds can use that to travel between all the worlds that the storm/s exist on. Thus, anyone riding the thunderbirds can travel that way too. With the proper equipment, a thunderbird can even survive in space, and their powers allow them to "flash" across distances in bolts of lightning that they create themselves.

2. Valkyries. They're a race of winged humanoids that are strong enough to survive in space and go days or even weeks at a time without breathing. They don't need transportation, they just fly themselves between worlds, using magic to move at near-light speeds.

3. Dreamers. These people astrally project their souls into the dreamworld, which let's them travel between planets almost instantly. Special stations on some worlds supply cloned and vegetative bodies for the dreamers to possess in order to have a physical body while projecting.

4. Displacement stones. Probably the simplest idea here: too stone platforms, each on a different planet. When activated, whatever is standing on one stone is instantaneously swapped with whatever is on the other.

5. Wyrms. Giant winged reptilian yes, space dragons. Manmade lifeforms, they were originally created to be the be all end all form of space travel because their teeth were able to bite through space and time itself, creating wyrmholes. Wyrmholes can act as portals to literally anywhere in the universe, letting them (and anybody riding them) to travel inconceivable distances with a single step. Problem is, the wyrmholes don't go away unless manually resealed, but that doesn't "fix" what is essentially a wound in the fabric of reality, it just stretches the reality around it to cover the hole. Eventually that began to take its toll, and reality threatened to collapse. So the people who created the wyrms decided the best solution would be to just murder all of them. That led to a big war, and eventually the wyrms retreated into a whole other plane of existence to escape. Now and then one will still chew it's way back into our reality, which necessitates them having literal space dragon slayers. And that's why wormholes are illegal in this universe.

What do you guys think?
Last edited by DaHeckIzDat on January 3rd, 2021, 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

Postby Stalvern » January 1st, 2021, 5:00 pm

It seems like the only real options are "wormholes or things very similar to wormholes", "magic that makes you go very fast", and "screw it, magic just takes you there". At this point, there isn't much to contribute except arbitrary ideas for new space creatures or teleporters or whatever that use the same basic premises as the ones you already have.

I really think that five ideas is already more than enough, though. I would trim it down to three, one for each fundamental concept that's been introduced: the thunderbird lightning, the astral projection, and the wyrmholes. Each has advantages and drawbacks – the thunderbirds can travel at the speed of light, which is pretty damn slow in interstellar space but doesn't risk breaking down reality, astral projection can go anywhere instantly but needs an existing repository body to actually do anything, and wyrmholes are ostensibly unlimited but inevitably destroy the universe. The rest can safely be cut – the valkyries don't need a less interesting version of the thunderbirds' magic, and the thunderbird storms and displacement stones sound an awful lot like wormholes themselves and invite the same consequences that led to the wyrm genocide. It's also tidier this way; it's quite enough to have three FTL methods when science fiction already gets plenty of material out of one or two at a time.

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Re: Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

Postby Tron » January 3rd, 2021, 1:24 am

Invent the Flux Capacitor, which makes time travel possible. Maybe try hanging a clock in your bathroom and slip and fall and hit your head on the toilet.

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Re: Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

Postby Voor » January 3rd, 2021, 10:13 am

I like the dreamers and the space dragons (especially because of the consequences). Displacement stones feel a bit like Star Trek teleporters, but I get there are differences—maybe make those part of the dreamers transportation?

But I agree, 5 is too many. Trim it down to just a couple and expand from there. That way, if it becomes a series, you could add other forms of transportation as you see fit.

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Re: Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » January 3rd, 2021, 12:37 pm

I went and wrote the prologue for the story. What do you guys think?


Czethrual Nyron, High Priest of Cruentus, knelt in prayer beneath the blood-red sun. Its scarlet flames glowed with regal arrogance in the darkness of the Eptydian Void, yet they illuminated nothing of the vast, black stone structure that orbited it, upon which Nyron conferred with his god. Cruentus was not like the blinding, blasphemous yellow suns of the Outerverse. It did not share its light and warmth with the mortals that served it. It provided them with life, as was the purpose of the living stars, but nothing more.

Words that were not words echoed within Nyron’s mind. No creature of flesh and blood could comprehend the language of the stars. Not even Nyron, though he had served the Sun of Suns for nearly a thousand years. It was like a storm was raging inside his skull, every clap of thunder shaking both his body and spirit, threatening to tear him to pieces if his concentration lapsed for even a moment. Each word carried more weight, more meaning, than any mortal language could ever hope to match. But though the eldritch speech was lost to him, its meaning was burned into his mind.

A savage, fanged grin spread across High Priest Nyron’s face.

“Blessed am I, to serve one such as you,” he concluded his prayer. Rising to his feet, his black and scarlet robes rustling with the movement, he turned to retreat into the church, where he was plunged into an even deeper darkness. Not that it mattered. Nyron had long since overcome his need for light.

The ceiling of the great church was miles above him, and the walls were even farther apart. One of the great cities of the Outerverse could easily have fit within it. Nyron walked, his bare feet slapping against the obsidian floor, and only stopped when a pair of glowing red eyes opened in front of him.

“Wake your children.” Nyron’s voice was like the scraping of ice against ice. “The amalgamation is complete. A spark of the Dark Sun now burns within the hearts of all your kind.”

The creature drew in a deep breath in excitement. Nyron felt his robes flap in the sudden wind.

“Then the Day of Freedom has finally come?” it growled in Draconic. “We will finally break our bonds and escape this vile prison?”

Nyron smiled again, licking dry lips with a tongue that hadn’t felt moisture in centuries. “Patience, young one. We still have much work to do. The walls of reality must crumble in their entirety before Cruentus can truly be free, and they will not fall easily.”

“But we can begin the process now?”

Nyron nodded once. “Yes. We can begin.”

The great shadow rose to its feet, standing nearly tall enough for its head to brush the ceiling. Beating wings the size of battlefields, it took to the air and flew to the platform where Nyron had just been praying. Even in the darkness, its pitch black scales shimmered. It landed, claws gouging holes into the stone below, and reared its head back to let loose a deafening roar.

At first nothing seemed to happen…but then the sounds of thousands—no, millions—of flapping leather wings filled the deathly stillness. What looked like a ripple spread across Cruentus’ surface, and from the center came a horde of shadows. Outwards they flew, weaving between the other obsidian structures that hung in the red sun’s orbit, until Nyron could make out their reptilian forms. They swarmed around the one who had summoned them, ranging in size from that of a man, to larger than an Outerverse house. None were even a fifth as large as the black one.

“We have been given the power to finally escape this place!” it roared to them. “Our god, our lifegiver, Cruentus, only asks that we share this freedom with it!”

Nyron grinned. A thousand years, he had been trapped here with his god. Such was only the blink of an eye to one as ancient as a sun, but Cruentus had been imprisoned in the Eptydian Void…this isolated and unworthy place…for so long that, even by Cruentus’ standards, it edged on eternity.

But no longer. Soon the blasphemous yellow suns would be snuffed out, the universe plunged into the wondrous shadow of Cruentus. Then all would remember who their true ruler was.

“What will we do?” the great black dragon roared.

“BURN IT! BURN IT ALL!” came the Draconic chorus.

The black dragon opened its jaws, and breathed a spire of flame out into the darkness—flame that was the same blood red as Cruentus. The amalgamation truly had been a success. The inferno roared, mushrooming out as it struck its target: existence itself. Nyron watched, barely able to breathe in his excitement.

The fire faded, and a thousand glowing shapes remained, hanging in the midst of the dark nothingness. Like pockmarks in reality. The breath hissed out from between Nyron’s teeth as the dragon swarm took to the air again, and one by one vanished through the spacetime holes that their forebear had burned for them.

At long last, it had finally begun.

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Re: Alternative Forms of Space Travel?

Postby Stalvern » January 7th, 2021, 3:31 am

It's laying it all on pretty thick, like a Saturday morning cartoon. There isn't a whole lot going on beyond how dark and evil these bad guys are and how much they want to kill everything, and they aren't particularly otherworldly or even distinctive; they're big scary dragons in a big scary church in space. The whole thing is a mess of clichés: an "eldritch" tongue beyond mortal comprehension, raving fanatics who hate "blasphemous" life and light, a palette comprising black and red. These are aggregated tropes, not ideas born from thought. The basic premise here is perfectly workable – read Paradise Lost if you want to see just how far it can be taken – but nothing about this execution feels like it involved work.

Think about what these dragons are. They're sentient beings that were genetically engineered by humans as tools (slaves), then discarded and destroyed when the one thing they were created to do proved untenable. There's a lot of pathos in that, opportunity to seriously explore their (and our!) natures and motivations, and there's a lot of room for some real weirdness just in how these artificial space creatures look and what kind of life they've managed for themselves outside the universe. Why are you settling for the bottom of the barrel in themes and imagery when you've set yourself up for something actually worth writing?

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