6

Most of the text of the Honor Harrington series treats the levels of Hyperspace as if each were a discrete layer. Almost an instance of different universe that happens to map directly to the physical one and can be punched through to using a Hyper generator. With a single light speed multiplier for the level and so on.

In The Honor of the Queen, there is this exchange between Admiral White Haven and Captain Trueman;

That wasn't a trap, Commander. On the other hand, I know perfectly well you didn't cut thirty hours off the old passage record without playing games with your hyper generator."

Alice Truman looked at him for several silent seconds. Lord Alexander—no, he was the Earl of White Haven, since his father's death—was known for a certain willingness to ignore The Book when it got in his way, and there was an almost conspiratorial gleam under the worry in his eyes.

"Well, yes, My Lord," she admitted.

"How high did you take her, Commander?"

"Too high. We bounced off the iota wall a day out of Yeltsin."

Despite himself, Alexander flinched. Dear God, she must have taken out all the interlocks. No ship had ever crossed into the iota bands and survived—no one even knew if a ship could survive there.

Which suggests a much more continuous relationship between the areas of Hyper. Is this something that changed over time as more details were provided? Is there an explicit definition of how the layers of Hyper work in the Honorverse?

10
  • I'd always imagined them as space-Mach levels... – Paulie_D Apr 6 at 10:18
  • I don't think that conversation is necessarily inconsistent with your initial image; I'd take "bouncing off the <x> wall" as being something of a metaphor for technobabble amounting to "we tried to go even faster, but we reached some limitation of the hyper generator or associated systems that simply wouldn't let us do so". The bit about "tak[ing] out all the interlocks" would refer to associated systems that normally enforce safety margins, implemented because the risk of destruction in transition rose to normally-unacceptable levels. – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 6 at 11:41
  • 1
    @JeffZeitlin You've helped me realise why I had a different image I'll update the question. But later books seem to emphasise the Hyper Generator is needed only to move between layers. Ships without a Hyper Generator can move around within the layer, which doesn't seem to match the conversation. – Jontia Apr 6 at 11:45
  • 1
    For what it's worth, the question shown as related, What are the different forms of FTL travel and how do they interact? does seem a useful read. – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 6 at 11:46
  • @Jontia - It does match the conversation; see the linked question from my previous comment: You use the hyper generator to move between layers; you use the impellers within a layer (except not in grav waves). – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 6 at 11:48
6

The author considers Hyper layers to be separated by a "wall" ("Joe Buckley" mentioned in the post is Weber himself), that has a detectable (and thus discrete) translations by ships when they "cross" it.

From https://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/entry/Harrington/265/1/:

From an email message posted by Joe Buckley to Baen's Snerkers Only dated May 23, 2009:

Detection of upward hyper translations

Actually, upward transits into hyperspace are detectable from the hyper-space end, but not from the normal-space end. I phrased myself poorly in The Short Victorious War when I described what the Manties saw when Alexander hypered out. The "sparkle" wasn't really a hyper hyper footprint; it was the effect of a hyper transit by a ship underway under impeller drive. So, yes, it was a hyper footprint, but it didn't occur simply because a ship crossed a hyper wall. It happened because the ship in question was underway under impeller drive when it crossed the wall. That's never been a factor in my need to describe what's going on before because everyone's been using impeller drive when they made their transits. In this case, they wouldn't be. Further, the only reason the Manties were able to pick up even what they picked up was because they'd already localized Alexander on their sensors. They knew exactly where she was, despite her best efforts of stealth, and (as you say) they were literally right on top of her. (This is how I've always visualized the process working, but I probably should have made it more explicit. It never struck me as being necessary. Or, to be more honest, it never even occurred to me to wonder about whether or not it might be necessary.) The hyper transits which haven't been being detected over the last several books have been made by ships under stealth, which hadn't previously been localized, and which were either not using their impellers at all or under absolutely minimum power when they [made] transit. Under those circumstances, hyper footprints from upward translations are effectively [indetectable], even by the kinds of arrays the Manties have in place to protect the home system.

Additionally:

  • Your own quote seems to support this conclusion ("Too high. We bounced off the iota wall a day out of Yeltsin") - you don't "bounce" off of something that is continuous and not discrete

  • Your comments under the post discussed Hyper vs Impeller for translation. The Weber quote above should hopefully clarify this for you, relevant snippet is:

    It happened because the ship in question was underway under impeller drive when it crossed the wall. That's never been a factor in my need to describe what's going on before because everyone's been using impeller drive when they made their transits. In this case, they wouldn't be.

    and

    which were either not using their impellers at all or under absolutely minimum power when they [made] transit

Additionally, there definitely is a single speed multiploer per hyper band; see Word of God table e.g. here: http://www.davidweber.net/posts/view/104/effective-speed-by-hyper-.html/sort:created/direction:asc/page:2


P.S. I am not quite sure I understand the basis of the question, but if it is merely the fact that the quote says "Iota bands" (plural), I would posit that this is simply a mis-phrasing by the character, in a sense of "Any band above Iota".

Indeed, in "Mission of Honor", there is no longer "iota bands" plural; and there is a discreet iota and kappa walls to breach: https://ericflint.net/snippets/mission-of-honor-snippet-17/

But it worked. Indeed, they’d broken not simply the iota wall, but the kappa wall, as well

6
  • Actually, Mr Buckley is not Mr Weber, though the two do know each other. – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 7 at 11:20
  • @JeffZeitlin - Eric Flint? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 7 at 14:34
  • No, Joe is actually a fan - he used to (maybe still does) operate the Fifth Imperium website, where you can still download images of the Baen free CDs. – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 7 at 15:30
  • "you don't "bounce" off of something that is continuous and not discrete" - In the discrete view of Hyper, I don't quite understand how you'd move towards the hyper wall without intending to and there would be no point in moving "upwards" if all the Theta layer was one singular plane. – Jontia Apr 9 at 13:48
  • But word of god info dumps is enough to give this a tick, and then I'll go and try to understand the whole thing at leisure. – Jontia Apr 9 at 13:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.