The Catacombs Space: 1999 Catacombs Series Guides
Science Of Fiction

A look at the science in Space: 1999 by Martin Willey

Science has transformed the modern world. Our lives are dependent on technology, so it is not surprising that science fiction has become popular. Science fiction doesn't have that much to do with real science- the point is that the protagonists are using technology, however fantastical that technology is. But it can illustrate real science principles, and perhaps derive stories from scientific speculation. Science advances through gradual progress and revolutionary paradigm shifts, so present day knowledge may be fundamentally wrong. But in areas like physics and astronomy, the scope to rewrite existing science is limited. While Einstein showed that Newton's theory of gravity was wrong, it didn't rewrite any of the implications of Newtonian gravity. Einstein's relativity may similarly be shown to be wrong, but the limitations to the speed of light won't disappear. So faster than light travel will always be fantasy. Other developments- such as computers becoming conscious- are speculative but not impossible. Like most of science fiction, "Space: 1999" used a lot of real science, some speculative science that may someday exist, and a lot of imaginary non-science. This article looks critically at the science in "Space: 1999" under four categories: physics, astronomy, alien and human biology, and technology.

Contents copyright Martin Willey