Bad Engineering in Science Fiction Analytical Essay by BrainC

Bad Engineering in Science Fiction
This paper discusses that four works of science fiction stand out for their use of bad engineering: Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" (1865); Karel Capek's "R.U.R"(1921); Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1926); and Maurice Elvey's "Transatlantic Tunn
# 52922 | 1,865 words | 10 sources | APA | 2004 | US
Published on Sep 26, 2004 in English (Analysis) , Engineering (General) , Literature (General)

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This paper discusses that some of the devices and instruments featured in many popular science fiction novels and films are, in essence, conceived through bad engineering, meaning that these devices and instruments are neither practical nor possible according to present scientific knowledge. The author points out that Verne's "rocket to the moon" stands as the ultimate example of bad engineering, even when one takes into consideration that Verne was using his imagination as a means of conveying his ideas to the reading public, who, at the time of the novel's publication, were obviously quite ignorant of science. The paper relates that Capek's plot in "R.U.R" is the seminal robot motif that has influenced every science fiction film, but the vision of creating a race of robots that take over the roles usually assigned to human beings in the context of work and labor was far-fetched for its time and is still so even in the 21st century.

From the Paper:

"Michel Ardan then suggests that the spaceship launching will be powered by a formidable quantity of guncotton, and that the occupants of this spaceship will be protected from the shock of the launch by a layer of water filling the space between the vehicle's double walls. There will also be thick glass portholes for observation, sealed during the liftoff and then opened by screws controlled from the inside of the vehicle. The air supply will be renewed by oxygen obtained by heating potassium chlorate, a powerful oxidizing agent. The flight, of course, will be monitored from the ground by a powerful Rocky Mountain telescope operated by the Cambridge observatory."

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