Lit Hyperspace in the EU and movies

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Riven_JTAC, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Riven_JTAC Jedi Master

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    One thing that has always intrigued me about Star Wars, especially in the EU, is hyperspace travel, especially the time it takes to travel and how ships navigate to far-flung locales.

    I've been working my way through the Essential Atlas for quite some time, but have really picked up my reading of it the last couple weeks. The maps and the writings have raised a number of questions in my mind regarding hyperspace travel.

    In the movies, hyperspace travel is made to seem like it takes very, very little time. The trip from Tatooine to Alderaan seems to go by in a flash in ANH. In ESB, it's never even shown that the Falcon uses its backup hyperdrive to make the journey from Hoth to the Anoat System to Bespin. While reading the Atlas, I was stunned to read that it took the Falcon several weeks to travel from Anoat to Bespin. Obviously, a backup hyperdrive has to be slower, but I didn't realize it was that comparatively slow! :eek: Even with ESB obviously trying to tell a grand story in 2 hours, I always had thought that it took, at most, a few (2-5) days for the Falcon to travel around. I mean, it ultimately makes sense, especially when thinking of Luke's part of the story, because I guess that means Luke spent maybe a couple weeks with Yoda instead of just a few days.

    Is the Atlas the only place such times have been reported? Does anyone know if the time from Tatooine to Alderaan has ever been mentioned and, if so, what it is?

    More generally, is there some place that a fan or an EU work has computed general times along various hyperlanes? For example, the Hydian Way seems to be a major, major route based on the Atlas. One of my favorite books is Courtship. The journey from Coruscant to Dathomir normally takes something like 17 days according to the book. Would it be reasonable to assume that the vast majority of that time must be spent turning off of the Hydian Way and picking a way into Dathomir space? It seems like, since looking at the map the Hydian Way portion of the journey is by far the longest in terms of distance, that it would be impossible to really connect the galaxy if it took 14-15 days to travel from Brentaal (where, I assume, someone coming from Coruscant would orient with the Hydian Way) to Botajef (where, I assume, someone heading up the Hydian Way would orient onto another route if their intended destination was Dathomir). Just a simple-minded extension of that would make it almost a month to travel from Brentaal to the Corporate Sector. Yet, most of the EU books I've read make hyperspace travel seem MUCH shorter than that... usually only a few days at the most (Courtship aside, of course). The Rogue and Wraith books, also amongst my favorites, rarely ever talk about hyperspace travel anywhere exceeding 2 days (and many journeys are discussed in amounts of time of a day or less). Is this greatly added time in the example of heading to Dathomir meant to be that a ship has to go much more slowly after orienting off of a major lane like the Hydian Way and taking many, shorter, slower jumps through space to get to a specific planet well off the beaten path? :confused:



    Another thing that I wonder about is curvature of the hyperlanes. In the Atlas, the various major hyperlanes are almost always curved in various directions, especially the major ones which look like elongated "S"s. Does anyone know how that curvature has been portrayed in the EU? The EU works I've read often talk of multiple-leg journeys, but I always assumed that various legs of a transit between origin and destination meant different hyperlanes (e.g. travel along Hyperlane A until the junction of A with Hyperlane B, come out of hyperspace, reorient onto B, and jump again). Are these legs also possibly reorienting on the same Hyperlane? Is the curvature just a trick of reducing the map to a flat sheet of paper like the Earth is distorted when reduced to a flat map rather than onto a globe? Or is there slight turning of a craft while in hyperspace?



    Thanks for any insight anyone can provide. I hope this can start some interesting discussion. The boards have seemed a little dead in the past few days. :p
    Last edited by Riven_JTAC, Nov 28, 2012
  2. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    Sep 8, 2004
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    <Insert obligatory post about how hyperdrive engines are powered by power of plotonium.>
  3. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Novels occasionally give figures for how many light years are covered in an hour, or a few days. The Thrawn Trilogy in particular:

    It took the Chimaera nearly five days at its Point Four cruising speed to cover the three hundred fifty light-years between Myrkr and Wayland. [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 41 ]

    It wasn't good. Luke's reverse-triggering of the acceleration compensator had caused an unanticipated feedback surge into both hyperdrive motivators - not enough to fry them on the spot, but scorching them badly enough to cause sudden failure ten minutes into their escape. At the Point Four the ship had been doing at the time, that translated into approximately half a light-year of distance. [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 180 ]

    "Transit time was forty-seven hours, but that doesn't tell us a whole lot."
    Han nodded. "A Dreadnought can pull, what, about Point Four?"
    "About that," Lando agreed. "When it's really in a hurry, anyway."
    "Means we aren't any more than a hundred fifty light years from New Cov, then." [ "Dark Force Rising", p. 160 ]

    There was similarly no way of knowing where they were going, but from the laboured sound of the engines, she could guess they were pushing uncomfortably far past a Victory Star Destroyer's normal flank speed of Point Four Five. Possibly even as high as Point Five, which would mean they were covering a hundred twenty-seven light-years per hour. [ "Dark Force Rising", p. 250-151 ]

    but also the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy gives a figure for the speed of an Interdictor:

    "Tell me I'm wrong, but I don't think an Interdictor could cross ninety-one light-years in four hours -- not on its best day."
    "You are correct," Gant said, reaching out and collecting the recorder. [ "Tyrant's Test", p. 13 ]

    These figures are low enough to suggest that they are "cross country"- not using major hyperlanes, which are much faster.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Nov 28, 2012
  4. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    Zahn frakked up his hyperdrive factors.
    Last edited by rumsmuggler, Nov 28, 2012
  5. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    When Zahn was writing- he assumed that "Point Five past lightspeed" was an example of a high speed- so he had it as Point Five being very fast, Point Four was slower, and so on.

    Later EU, however, interpreted it as "classes of hyperdrive" so there's Class 10 (backup) Class 2 (fast civilian) Class One (warship), Class 0.5 (highly modified ships like the Falcon) and so on.
    I prefer to think of it as authors after Zahn confusing the whole thing.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Nov 28, 2012
  6. Gorefiend Force Ghost

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    The thing is, Luke must be with Yoda for at least a few weeks for him to learn as much as he does, whilst the Falcon crew can’t be on Bespin for more than a day or two, so them crawling to Bespin for a few weeks makes the most sense, especially as the Imperials are meant to already have been at Bespin for a while by the time the Falcon gets there.
    Several of the West End Games guides had travel time tables for certain regions, afaik there was one for major know worlds in the Core Rulebooks, one for the Sisar Run and one for Brak Sector. There might also have been ones for the Tapani worlds, the Kathol and the worlds on the Kira run. Though as WEG was already very fond of pointing out if you know what you are doing you can cut travel times radically by special routes (especially if you are going to well charted worlds), whilst all kind of mishaps can make your trip very long indeed, particularly if you are going for remote worlds far from the major trade routes.
    Very much, as you are supoosed to be able to get to the main CorpSec worlds within a day or two from Coruscant.

    Pretty much, the Atlas also explains it that way in the Hyperspace travel section.

    The way it has always been explained is that you point your ship at a certain vector and jump along that one until the point you want to reach and then adjust vector for the next jump and so on. Which is also what makes tracing ships that jump that difficult as you can only guess how long they will travel along that vector and have to be their faster than they are, before they change vector again and take a different direction.
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  7. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Not that long a while. As Lando puts it: "They arrived right before you did."
  8. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    I like the Zahn approach better: you should have absolute speeds. Just because you have a class one hyperdrive doesn't mean you'd be going at flank speed the entire time -- and that's something Zahn was sensitive to.
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  9. Stackpole_The_Hobbit Force Ghost

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    Right, and let's not forget the damage caused to space by hyperspace travel over a certain speed oh ... oh no wait ...

    That's Star Trek. Hm.
  10. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    You could probably keep both- so the Victory would have a Class One hyperdrive- but it's capable of going at speed Point Five Past Lightspeed.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Nov 28, 2012
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  11. Gorefiend Force Ghost

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    Give them a day or so, though if you think about it - Boba must have been vector tracing the Falcon for weeks upon weeks whilst it was crawling to Cloud City and could only have been sure where they were going just before they set that last jump. So much for the exciting life of a high class Bounty Hunter. :D



    Thing is, you can apparently hamper with hyper drives to go faster, just happen to risk not making it back out of hyperspace, at least that’s what we have to conclude from how the Falcon got itself to be that fast, with Han somehow managing to streamline protection fields, ship profile and drive output enough for it not to be suicide.
    Last edited by Gorefiend, Nov 28, 2012
  12. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    Zahn isn't the high lord of the EU. He's good but overrated IMO.
    Last edited by rumsmuggler, Nov 28, 2012
  13. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Bounty hunting- weeks of boredom followed by minutes of excitement and terror (in Boba's case, usually on the part of his targets ;))

    He can't exactly be blamed for change in interpretation of how "factors" work though.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Nov 28, 2012
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    It's not a matter of it coming from Zahn -- Zahn has plenty of problems. It's a matter of Zahn's idea being more sensible in this instance.
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  15. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    Never said he was..
  16. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    "Zahn frakked up" seemed a bit like an argument that the confusion is his fault though.
  17. rumsmuggler Chosen One

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    I really could care less who's at fault. Back in those days of the EU there wasn't much uniformity or oversight to details like that.
  18. Riven_JTAC Jedi Master

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    Thanks. Like I said, I have been reading this over a really long time so I may have simply forgotten that part if I've already passed it.
    So, you'd have multiple legs even if you're always on, say, the Perlemian Trade Route?
  19. Gorefiend Force Ghost

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    Pretty much, as even the big hyper lanes are just series of smaller trade roads that have been joined together.
  20. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    That's how the Empire could maintain customs platforms and the like at various hyperjump nexus.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Nov 28, 2012
  21. Riven_JTAC Jedi Master

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    Interesting. Thanks for the info.
  22. jasonfry VIP

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    I'll jump in very briefly to note/admit that for the Atlas, Dan and I did what I hope is a good job discussing hyperspace travel, its complications, how routes are built and decay, etc. But we didn't try to square anything with hyperspace times from West End Games, or as seen in various novels, or in the movies. This was one of the tasks we decided was hopeless -- we would have emerged from the process gibbering in madness, and without an outcome that made anybody happy. WEG made an admirable attempt to tackle hyperspace with some rigor, but it didn't last very long -- within a few years hyperspace travel was happening at the "speed of plot," with a journey taking as many weeks or as few hours as the storyteller requires, never mind the contradictions.

    The example that always clinches the case for me is Sidious sensing Vader's in trouble on Mustafar and then arriving what seems like about 20 minutes later. You can say there's a super-secret Sith hyperspace route from Coruscant to Mustafar that takes as long as going to the market for a carton of milk, or you can say the time sequences have been edited together and he sensed it days before, or something, but in either case the cure is IMHO much worse than the disease. For your own good, whisper "speed of plot," whistle the John Williams score and don't let it bother you.

    Minor plug: If such stuff interests you as much as it does me, there's some more about hyperspace and war, and particularly about interdicting hyperspace routes, in Warfare.

    Re travel time from Hoth to Bespin, the Atlas wasn't first in that regard. IIRC, that was defined in Children of the Jedi, of all places.

    Great conversation! Carry on!
  23. Gorefiend Force Ghost

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    A very good job indeed. :)


    I always wondered why WEG actually did give such clear travel times (vague mentions of a few days for this and that would have sufficed), as otherwise they kind of went out of the way to explain that hyperspace was pretty much magic, even inventing otherspace and other fun hyperspace mishaps, or even events when hyperspace would just simply not work, like the pulsar that would all once in a while simply shut down the Sisar Run.
    Padme also seems to also be able to get there in what can’t be more than a few hours after Vader kills the Sepi Council.
    Ah that is where it is from, could have sworn it was the Chronology that actually brought it up first, but then Anderson was involved in both, so it makes sense for him to mention his explanation for it again.
  24. Riven_JTAC Jedi Master

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    Ah, that's understandable and makes sense even in the EU literature I've read.

    Yeah, Revenge was the "worst" in this regard. It seems like all of the travel takes a few minutes. I don't know why, exactly, but I always felt, in the other prequels, that travel took longer. No real reason, but just felt that it did.
    That's the book underneath the Atlas on my coffee table. :) I'll get to that as soon as I finish the Atlas (I'm just about to start the time period of the return of the Emperor).
  25. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    There's a middle ground between "20 minutes" and "days", though: a few hours. The travel times depicted in the films ( OT included ) for, say, travel between Core and Outer Rim or comparable situations, are simply nowhere near as long as those depicted in certain novels and game supplements.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Dec 1, 2012