Interstellar Travel, According to H2G2

Every sci-fi has interesting ways to get around interstellar travel. At the end, no one will be interested in stories that whenever two solar systems are involved, it's always "2,000 years and a long hibernation later"... Star Wars has hyperdrive that propel X-Wings through the alternate dimension of hyperspace, and Star Trek has warp drive that puts Enterprise into a warp field that travels faster than light.

In Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", there are some rather innovative and humorous ways to get around those space-time problems:

  • Hyperspace -- and that was the very reason Earth got destructed in the series, as the "Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council" is trying to build a hyperspace bypass which Earth is on the way. It is also hyperspace's major problem, as there cannot be obstacles along the way.

  • Infinite Improbability Drive -- as equipped on the Heart of Gold (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). It is based on some kind of quantum physics -- a particle is more "probable" to be found in a particular space, but there also exists a very small probability that it can be found elsewhere in the universe. Therefore the idea is, there exists a very small probability that a spaceship can exist in two different places. What the Infinite Improbability Drive does, however, is to produce that infinite improbability field, which makes spaceship appears in two locations in ever increasing probability.

  • Bistromatic Drive -- as equipped on Slartibartfast's Bistromath (Life, the Universe, and Everything). Bistromathics is a revolutionary way to look at mathematics. Basically numbers written on the restaurant bills are not absolute (as we all have experienced that!), and they are not confined with mathematical laws that are usually applied in other parts of universe. Therefore, by installing a restaurant inside the spaceship and doing all the computation there, it is possible to cross massive interstellar distance in very short time.

  • Bad News -- this is one of my favourite, and it appears in "Mostly Harmless". Here's the extract:

    One of the problems has to do with the speed of light and the difficulties involved in trying to exceed it. You can't. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. The Hingefreel people of Arkintoofle Minor did try to build spaceships that were powered by bad news but they didn't work particularly well and were so extremely unwelcome whenever they arrived anywhere that there wasn't really any point in being there.

Much more interesting than Hyper Drive and Warp Drive IMHO :)