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Getting There

Pandora's Star - Peter F. HamiltonWe attended a reading of a play set in the early to mid 1800’s this week in downtown Sacramento. At one point in the play, one of the characters, an escaped slave, claims to have gone from the South to San Francisco, and then back to New York City, in a relatively short period of time. It was a bit unbelievable, and we later learned form the author that it was intended to cast doubt on the truthfulness of the character.

But still, it got me thinking about transportation, and the role it plays in science fiction.

If you ever watched the series Revolution, you may have noticed some transportation issues. People would walk from one state to the next in a matter of hours, and miraculously get from Texas to Nevada on foot in a day or two. It wasn’t well thought-out, and it made the story a little less enjoyable for me.

Whenever you write a story that includes characters trekking over long distances, you have to deal with transportation logistics, and if you’re juggling several sets of characters, landing them all at the same place at the same time for the grand finale can be daunting.

A number of sci fi authors have come up with great transportation solutions – I’m thinking of the trains that travel between worlds in Peter Hamilton’s Commonwealth series, or the guild navigators in Dune.

So as a writer, how do you deal with transportation issues in your own stories – whether it’s the method or the logistics? And as a reader, what are some of the more innovative modes of transport you have seen in sci fi (LGBT or mainstream)?

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