Weapons in science fiction

Weapons in science fiction

Weapons in science fiction are typically depicted as being advanced of contemporary Earth weapons. Uses in the field tend to rely on hand held gun-like weapons, while a sci-fi story that focuses elsewhere, such as in space, may just use generic beam weapons, often just referred to as blasters, or lasers, while a military science fiction story or a meticulously detailed story might have an intricate variety of weapons. Hard science fiction may include more realistic weapons, including shooting lasers, plasma, or particle beams.

The archetypal example is the raygun, a directed-energy weapon of some kind. Rayguns have become a cliché in the genre, particularly when used to the exclusion of real-world-type firearms. Notoriously, rayguns that have been poorly designed or that aim for style before sense may be inferior to their contemporary real-world counterparts, particularly in the visual medium with its limited special effects budgets. Also of note is the fact that "lasers" in many science fiction films appear to be visible in space and slow moving; a real laser will move at the speed of light and is not visible in the vacuum of space.

Sci-fi weapons can range from "much the same, but with lasers" to unrecognizability. Space warfare, a field with no real-world equivalent as of yet, is the bread and butter of the genre and requires weapons built for circumstances radically different from any encountered on Earth. Space allows for entirely new types of weapons, such as the relativistic kill vehicle. In settings that allow deflector shields, arms are often focused around defeating or circumventing them.

In fighting on the ground, sci-fi weapons often resemble modern real weapons, save for firing energy bolts and not kinetic projectiles. But also new types of weapon systems (sonic, psionic, etc.) are not unusual, and some authors create an entirely different paradigm of combat. On occasion even traditional swordplay may make a comeback (lightsabers being the best known example, chainswords being a cruder one).

Some science fiction weapons are plausible, but do not currently exist. Others use imaginary or physically impossible technologies. And see Directed-energy weapon, Drawbacks in real-world use. A few, such as those used in films such as "Starship Troopers", Warzone (game), or "Aliens", are practically the same as those of today, only modified to look futuristic.

Some real-world weapons initiatives such as the American Strategic Defense Initiative can have a resemblance to science fiction weapons. Science fiction has also drawn on real-world scenarios, such as the idea of a Doomsday machine, which was seriously contemplated by Cold War nuclear strategists.


* raygun
* lightsaber and other "laser swords"
* needlegun (Note: Needle gun is an actual 19th century military rifle)
* Star Trek Phasers
* photon torpedo
* plasma rifle
* Pulsed energy weapon
* Phased plasma gun (PPG)
* Thermal Induction Pulse (TIP) carbine
* railgun
* gaussgun
* relativistic kill vehicle
* stunner
* sonic weaponry
* Smartgun
* Vibroblade
* Whip-hounds

ee also

* Weapons of Star Trek
* Weapons of Star Wars
* Weapons and Equipment of the Imperium (Warhammer 40,000)

External links

* [http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science_List_Detail.asp?BT=Weapon Weapons in science fiction]
* [http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3l.html Atomic Rockets: Sidearms]

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