This post is by James Davis Nicoll from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content
Click here to view on the original site: Original Post
As previously established, three-dimensional maps present increasingly intractable problems for two-dimensional media. SF authors who want to create a coherent map for their setting (even one they never plan to share with their readers) can make the task easier for themselves by using one simple strategy: instead of permitting travel between any two stars, they can restrict travel to a few systems. Authors need only keep track of the connections between systems, not the 3D relationships between the stars.
One way to achieve this is by placing limits on the space drive’s useful range. The roleplaying game 2300 AD provides an example: stutterwarp drives generate lethal radiation if used to cross distances longer than 7.7 light years. While 2300 AD did, as explained in my previous article, provide a 3D map of near space, it was more relevant to know what stars (or massive bodies that could discharge ...