Sunday, November 13, 2011


Here are some images of my scratch built model of a Torchship based off of the Clifford Geary cover of Robert .A. Heinlein's "Time for the Stars".
Not a difficult model to make by any stretch but in the science fiction world a very important one.
From Wikipedia" Torchship (or torch ship) is a term used by Robert A. Heinlein in several of his science fiction novels and short stories to describe fictional rocket ships that can maintain high accelerations indefinitely, thus reaching speeds that approach the speed of light. The term has subsequently been used by other authors to describe similar kinds of fictional spaceships.

In his 1950 novel Farmer in the Sky, Heinlein describes a "mass-conversion ship" that derives its motive power from the complete conversion of mass to energy. The narrator of the novel, who is traveling to Jupiter in a mass-conversion ship called The Mayflower, describes it as follows:

The Mayflower was shaped like a ball with a cone on one side — top-shaped. The point of the cone was her jet — although Chief Engineer Ortega, who showed us around, called it her "torch".

Later in the novel, Ortega is quoted as saying

"The latest development is the mass-conversion ship, such as the Mayflower, and it may be the final development — a mass-conversion ship is theoretically capable of approaching the speed of light."

The scientific advance that permits this efficient conversion of mass to energy is called the "Kilgore equations".

In later novels and stories, including "Sky Lift" (1953), Time for the Stars (1956), and Double Star (1957), Heinlein refers to mass-conversion ships as "torchships" and to their pilots as "torchship pilots". In Have Space Suit - Will Travel (1958), the protagonists are kidnapped by hostile aliens and taken to Pluto aboard a space ship that accelerates at more than one gravity for days at a time, although the ship is never explicitly referred to as a "torchship".

The "torch" is said to work with any matter as fuel; in Time for the Stars, the ship refuels by landing in water, or in one case liquid ammonia.

The term "torchship" was adopted by a number of other science fiction authors, including

Time for the Stars is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published by Scribner's in 1956 as one of the Heinlein juveniles. The basic plot line is derived from a 1911 thought experiment in special relativity, commonly called the twin paradox, proposed by French physicist Paul Langevin. The story bears many similarities in plot and concepts to Variable Star written by Spider Robinson from an incomplete outline created by Heinlein around the time this book was written, and published in 2006.


Manchu said...

TRES bonne idée de realiser les vaisseaux spatiaux des couvertures de romans. Celle-là est tres reussie !
J'ai realisé la couverture pour le roman de R. Heinlein en edition française et j'y ai aussi dessiné la torche... Peut etre pourrais tu la faire aussi en maquette :))))

Warren Zoell said...

Peut-être avez-vous une photo?