Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

Star drives and Macguffins

Posted by Andrew Girle on August 27, 2011

Hitchcock had a name for those things which seem to be an important part of the story, but aren’t really – Macguffins. The example given is the Maltese Falcon… it is the heart of the story. Or is it? Watch the movie again (go on, you know you want to!). Notice that the statue, with it’s elaborate history and even the title of the story, could actually be removed and you would still have a story?


SO…. along comes a sci fi story. Starting with the premise that Einstein was right, any star drive has to have some serious abracadabra hand waving to make it ‘work’. BUT five minutes research shows that as soon as you can go fast, Sir Isaac Newton become the toughest hombre in the universe. To get to a velocity of c, essentially you need to magic away ‘mass’. And if you magic ‘mass’ back while still travelling at c, then, well…. either you tear a bloody big hole in the fabric of time and space, or you better wave your hands bloody fast!


But when all is said and done, it is still just a Macguffin.


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