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tkdguy

Swords in science fiction -- why?

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On 8/9/2019 at 4:42 PM, DShomshak said:

 

 

In the Lensman series, it was axes, not swords... super-heaqvy axes of advanced alloys, wielded by soldiers in powered armor. They were for boarding enemy spacecraft, for chopping through bulkheads (and enemy soldiers) without the risk of shooting through hulls or vital equipment.

 

 

 

Dean Shomshak

 

I'd have to dig for the books again, but I believe the axes were also for fighting under very specific conditions where other weapons were essentially useless (either in a hyperspatial tube or while inertialess).  It's been a while...

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I think the best explanations for the inclusion of swords in a setting include magic. I don't mean that in a demeriting may, and I also don't accept "science magic," or rather, using a rather cursory interpretation of some very broad and disparate scientific concepts as an explanation for "The tech really did just advance all the way back around to swords."

I'm talking about mystical magic. Magic that is purposefully left vague and purposefully made to function as magic achetypically. Stuff like The Force, Psionics, and The Spice (much of Dune is drenched in mysticism). If I were to approach this subject in my own worldbuilding, my solution would stick it's tongue in its cheek and say "I know I'm magic."

I think I'd include Qi and Kung Fu, basically. Once widely known to be extremely deadly, Kung Fu could never match the speed, range, and flexibility of small arms combat, and so it slowly died out. Now that unpowered (not mechanized) armor has gotten to the point where small arms are ineffective against it, some are relearning the ancient arts of Kung Fu to gain an advantage in violent encounters. Kung Fu is combat of the Qi, and can only be defended against by Kung Fu. A sword strike charged with Qi would pass through armor, leaving it undamaged, and slice down the man inside it. If a Kung Fu user is caught without his armor, surrounded by people with guns, he would be in a bit of a pickle.

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Good point, but why not just play a fantasy game if you're going to include magic? I have a science fantasy setting that includes lightsabers (with the serial numbers filed off), but I use superscience instead of magic. Maybe Clarke's Law applies here.

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On 2/27/2020 at 9:36 PM, tkdguy said:

Good point, but why not just play a fantasy game if you're going to include magic? I have a science fantasy setting that includes lightsabers (with the serial numbers filed off), but I use superscience instead of magic. Maybe Clarke's Law applies here.

Magic? Science? I'm the one with the Boom stick! :)

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IIRC there have been one or two documented bayonet kills in Afghanistan.  Tomahawks were all the rage there too for a while, mainly for their usefulness in breaching mud huts; I don't know if any were successfully used in combat.

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On 3/19/2020 at 2:15 PM, Old Man said:

 

Fake rifle doesn't look like it weighs twenty pounds.

It's not. it's a mokujū which is a slightly abstracted form of the Japanese Type 38 Rifle and Type 30 Bayonet combo, which even at full weight was only 9lbs. (10 with the bayonet). I have two of these in my closet (with the bayonet), and it's got a lot of reach. 

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17 minutes ago, Zeropoint said:

I'm surprised that the reach of the rifle + bayonet isn't giving that guy more of an edge than it seems to be.

From Wikipedia:

The Type 38 at 1,280 mm (50.4 in) was the longest rifle of the war, due to the emphasis on bayonet training for the Japanese soldier of the era, whose average height was 160 centimeters (5 ft 3 in).[7] The rifle was even longer when the 400 mm (15.75 inches) Type 30 bayonet was fixed. The Type 38 was fairly heavy, at about 4.25 kg.

 

That means a total length of  around 65 in. from butt to tip of the blade. I think the Mokuju may be a little shorter.

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13 hours ago, pinecone said:

War slugs! Lol The Big ones have howda's for big guns and or thrones for kings/queens....


Yeah! Or even giant worms that can tunnel in areas of loose sand...

 

This sparring session would be a lot different if the saber used were mounted on a war rhino. 

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