- SPACE WARP
- In sf TERMINOLOGY, a concept similar to that of hyperspace and subspace. The term (along with "hyperspace") may first have been used by John W. CAMPBELL Jr in Islands of Space (1931 Amazing Stories Quarterly; 1957). If a handkerchief is folded, two otherwise separated points of it can become adjacent; if space - more accurately, spacetime - could be warped in like style (which it cannot), the resulting short cut would effectively enable SPACESHIPS to travel FASTER THAN LIGHT: the topic is discussed further inHYPERSPACE. Space warp has become such a CLICHE in sf that it allows endless variants. One of the best known is the "warp factor" used in STAR TREK as a measure of velocity. This is illogical on all levels.The idea ofANTIGRAVITY is also connected with the warping of space: since GRAVITY (or a gravitational field) is an effect dependent on the curving (or warping) of spacetime in the presence of mass, then antigravity could be envisaged as what would happen if you contrived to warp space the other way, an idea proposed by Charles Eric MAINE in Count-Down (1959; vt Fire Past the Future 1959 US). This is actually a development of that same idea proposedby Campbell in Islands in Space; Campbell correctly recognized that to warp spacetime would not only alter gravitational fields but be equivalent to altering the velocity of light. Maine's negative space curvature is anyway impossible, since it would require the existence of negative mass, an existence prohibited on several theoretical grounds.PN
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.