Heinlein’s Torchship: the Lewis and Clark


I love science-fiction  “blueprints”. You know what I mean: exterior three-views and deck-by-deck plans of spaceships and submarines and so forth, with dimensions and other technical details added for fun. The fictional worlds I visit are made all the more “real” when the creators provide me with blueprints and other “artifacts” of the imaginary worlds they have created. I still have my collection of Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise blueprints (and technical manuals) that I bought as a kid; I had hours of fun poring over them back in the 1970s. I also have my set of blueprints from the original Battlestar Galactica series, plus a bunch of similar stuff related to Alien/Aliens, various SF anime shows, and even a book of architectural floorplans containing “blueprints” for various TV series homes (e.g., the Cleaver homes in Leave It To Beaver, The Brady Bunch house, etc.).

It’s always bugged me, however, that no one seems to create the blueprints I really want to see –  many of which are related to subjects in literary science fiction. For example, how many “artifacts” of the worlds depicted in Heinlein’s novels are out there? Precious few.

So I decided to do my own. The drawing you see here is a textually-accurate depiction of a “torchship”, the Lewis and Clark, from Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Time For the Stars. I’ll post details about the ship (again, taken directly from the text) if anyone’s interested.


5 Responses to Heinlein’s Torchship: the Lewis and Clark

  1. Thanks.

    “Time for the Stars” is a very elegant novel. I don’t think it’s as widely reprinted as other Heinlein juveniles, perhaps because there isn’t much fighting in it, but what a conception: identical twins who communicate telepathically at absolute speeds being sent on relativistic-speed starships

  2. Cool! As a kid I devoured the Heinlein juveniles. And his science/engineering was always pretty solid. Where it wasn’t – as in the torch ship’s direct matter-energy conversion – he offered plausible explanations. Today we know that a ship moving at lightspeed would be hit by interstellar hydrogen, which isn’t (think, instant deadly radiation dose), but that doesn’t reduce the descriptions Heinlein gave in ‘Time…’ of relativistic effects – which to me were educational. The telepathic twins idea was always a little hokey, but red-head twins were a theme in many of his books – vide, ‘The Rolling Stones/Space Family Stone’. Love the plan drawing, good stuff.

    Matthew Wright

  3. Pingback: Getting the science into science fiction « M J Wright

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

Please log in to WordPress.com to post a comment to your blog.

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s