I’m now reflecting on the criticisms I gave to my beloved science fiction shows. I stand by them. It would be easy to berate myself for taking it too seriously—it’s all fiction, after all, right?—but the thing is, that in doing my research, I’ve discovered something important. I’ve entertained a lot of weird ideas for my own sci fi. Some of which had to be shot down because it simply wasn’t feasible. But almost always when that was the case, I would learn about something else that was more feasible, and had more story potential along the way.
Instead of ignoring the science and forging ahead (which I have also done) the new understanding of the science opened up exciting possibilities for me to use that makes the voyages of my fictitious crew more plausible, not less.
Sure I’ve (mostly) tossed out the idea of using anit-matter in reactors because it’s completely impractical, but that’s okay because my ship can stop off at at Jupiter-like planet and skim some of its hydrogen for fuel.
And water? Water’s not a problem when you can scoop up some icy objects in a Kuiper field. From there it’s just filtration and flush the other stuff right back into space.
I think understanding how to get those details right allow my readers to plausibly suspend their disbelief when I trot out the artificial gravity and faster-than-light travel. That’s why I stand by my criticism of these sci fi shows. If the writers, directors, and producers spent a little more time on the science (go hire Neil DeGrasse Tyson to consult), the shows would be better overall.