Interstellar communication

23 June, 2009 at 5:47 pm (roleplaying)

I might be running a scifi game some time soon. Aesthetic inspiration: Alien(s)-movies and Terran (meaning humans) in Starcraft. The idea is to make most of technology plausible by current standards; that is, works with logic acceptable by modern humans, but may be significantly more effective.

I don’t intend to engage in any sort of science or technology fetishism, but one little thing has the power to shape societies and gameplay alike, so I’m going to worry a bit about it. That one thing is communication.

So, assuming technology that is plausible by modern standards and some way of taking people to other stars and keeping the people mostly alive in the process by some means (such as self-sufficient spaceships or handwavy stasis; more ideas welcome), how might communication work between different solar systems? How fast and how reliable could it be?

I’m somewhat at a loss here, not being a huge scifi reader or fan. On that note, can anyone recommend some scifi literature with suitable tone? (Other media might work, also, but is likely to be less useful to me.)

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