Common sci-fi errors are conventions used by countless sci-fi works, yet they are still blatant violations of the laws of science. Our encouragement to avert these errors is what places us at the harder end of the sci-fi scale. Remember that we are not ultra-picky about the science if it obeys the Rule of Cool.
Acceptable reality breaksEdit
These are errors that defy physics, but are allowed for practical purposes.
Vaguely humanoid aliensEdit
We do allow vaguely humanoid aliens for symbolism purposes, but please do not make your aliens exactly like humans save for forehead ridges. Be creative with them, and give them something unique.
- See also: Methods of space travel
Faster-than-light travel is not possible with modern technology, and many theorize it will always be impossible. Thus, we can only speculate as to what the real effects of FTL would be. For storytelling purposes, FTL is allowed and does not violate the willing suspension of disbelief. The properties of FTL itself are also up to the user.
Universal universe timeEdit
Relativity makes time pass differently on different planets. For the sake of simplicity and storytelling, this rule is generally ignored.
Space is the most commonly misunderstood of all locations in science. While we still do not totally understand it, the below errors are among the few that violate the willing suspension of disbelief.
The closest thing to an explosion that can happen in space is oxygen leaking out from the hull of a ship and igniting. It does not explode into a brilliant fireworks show.
Even between planets, there is a delay as radio only travels at the speed of light. In order to build a successful interstellar empire, one must find a way around this problem. The most common solutions are quantum entanglement and tachyons.
Sound cannot be heard in space without a medium to travel through. However, it can be heard in low orbit as there is indeed air there.
One cannot breathe in space simply because there is no air for them.
Any well designed ship can detect another ship coming from far distances. Ambushes in completely void interstellar space are impratical even with the aid of invisibility devices (which don't matter as ships best see through infrared and other sensors rather than visuals). Ambushes are difficult to pull off and are most often done in areas with many celestial masses such as a solar system.
Spacecraft cannot move like airplanes in space.
Crowded asteroid fieldEdit
If asteroids were close enough to each other so that they were constantly bumping into one another, they would disintegrate very quickly. Asteroids in real life or far apart from one another. Ring systems of planets consist of tiny rocks and dust close to one another, but if the ship can travel at FTL and repel interstellar micro-particles, surely it can survive in a ring system easily.
Don't forget that there's a third axis in space.
- See also: Space warfare
- Main article: Invasion guide
Invasions should only happen for a very good reason. For economical purposes, an empire should consider other alternatives before trying to conquer a specific planet.
Red shirt armyEdit
Any military leader with common sense would be smart enough to train their men so that they know how to aim their guns properly. That way, they do not get mowed down by a single individual.
Blockading only works if the object being guarded is particularly small such as a gate or portal. In space, there's a lot of space.
Contrary to popular belief, laser based weapons shoot their projectile at or near the speed of light. It does not move slower than a bullet.
Infantry is still necessary in future societies, but don't forget that ships can do orbital bombardments, too. Be sure to justify why an orbital bombing cannot be done right away if you plan to have battle scenes on the ground.
When creating an alien parasite that feasts and grows off of other foreign organisms, please note that this is highly improbable, as proteins from a foreign organism would most likely be rejected. Aliens that regenerate a limb almost instantly as soon as it's cut off is nearly impossible, the organism needs mass and energy to "regrow" a limb, and most of the time, their body probably doesn't have the exact materials needed to regrow said limb. (Let alone retain their original body-shape)
Even if radiation happens to cause a mutation on something, it is almost always lethal even if it does happen to give the individual superpowers. Such a rapid change in DNA is fatal. The closest thing to a mutation caused by radiation is probably a cancerous growth.