What is "U-Space" in Neal Ashers Polity Universe?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by whatisuspace, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. whatisuspace

    whatisuspace New Member

    Simple question, but impossible to find on google, Neal Ashers Web page or in the book Dark intelligence (as far as I have read) ...nor this forum, since it filters the "u" from u-space and just search for "space" :D

    I guess its something similar to traveling faster than light (standard sci-fi guess :)), but what does the U stands for and is it "only" traveling faster than light?
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Hi @whatisuspace, and welcome to the forum!

    The 'u' stands for 'under', so the word is underspace. There's no time and distance in underspace. It's first described in Asher's Ian Cormac series, which is the main-sequence story that outlines the major goings-on, i.e. the main mystery and threat, within the Polity. Basically, it's Asher's own gobbledygook plot contrivance for travelling faster-than-light. Iain M. Banks has the 'grid' in his Culture series, and other SF authors come up with their own contrivances for FTL. It works under the same principles as Asher's 'runcibles', but underspace drives are of a limited capability and require much more energy for the huge mass of ships, whereas the fixed runcibles have access to large amounts of energy and only need to deal with the 'small' masses of human beings.

    There's another piece of technology called USER, but I forget what the acronym stands for exactly. These are used to pull ships out of underspace much like the Empire's Interdictor ships in the Star Wars universe pulled out ships travelling in hyperspace. Basically, what a USER does is produce a singularity that drops in and out of underspace and causes a wave-like disruption so that FTL travel is interrupted.

    Is Dark Intelligence the first Asher book you've picked up? How are you enjoying it?

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