The Galaxy Is Not Enough
I’m decompressing from Avengers: Infinity War. Watched it tonight, and saw, things. Things I can’t explain, without spoiling it for others. But there’s one thing I can’t explain, but I can question. Why does so much sci-fi think it needs to use the entire universe?
Shareable Milky Way
Our own galaxy is about 100,000 light years across. Meaning that a ship traveling at the speed of light would need about 50,000 years to reach the center. Everything inside it is far away. And there’s a lot of places to visit. Space.com says there’ up to a half billion billion stars in our galaxy. A few video games simulate a fraction of this size, Elite Dangerous being one, and there’s still more stars and planets in those games then human capacity to visit them.
This place sucks, let’s go to Andromeda
The Andromeda galaxy is only 2.5 million light years from us. It’s got everything going for it that our lame galaxy doesn’t. But don’t worry, it’s getting closer, and in a few billion years, will merge with our own galaxy. There’s more stars in Andromeda, but the Milky Way has more mass, presumably dark matter.
Space Is Big
The universe is almost 14 billion years old. The observable parts make it twice that in light years, so 28 light year diameter. Some recent math adjusted for inflation, because space itself is expanding, estimates it is 92 billion light year diameter sphere. I’ll leave you with a few words from Douglas Adams on the sense of scale you need to understand this.
“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
A Universe At Stake
My science fiction pet peeve is a story that threatens the entire universe, yet only speaks in the context of a few planets the story takes place at. Given how large the galactic scale is, I have yet to see a story that needed to put our universe at risk, let alone present it believably that the problem is operating at that level. Anybody with the power to threaten the universe seem to be provincial bumkins who haven’t left their own native arm of the spiral galaxy they spawned on.
Please, for the love of Hawking, keep your space drama in your own galaxy, or prove you’ve got the mental stones to speak on the cosmological scale. Give me some sci-fi from Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Ok, maybe not, that guy thought we’d never have doors that would open themselves.
Where was I?
Oh yeah. I guess what I’m really trying to say here is:
That’s pretty much it. So if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with an Infinity Gauntlet on your hand, filled with doubt and self loathing, wracked with the pain and isolation of your decisions, Good.
There’s still a little group of Earth’s mightiest defenders, and you’ll get your comeuppance in Avengers 4.