My understanding from the book summary on Amazon is that Woodward has assembled a discussion of the history of exotic propulsion ideas as well as his own work, and shows how he thinks Mach Effect could be used in the context of things like Alcubierre warp drive and Kip Thorne wormholes.
Specifically, they say that the book has three parts:
To create exotic materials and technologies needed to make stargate and warp drives is the holy grail of advanced propulsion. A less ambitious, but nonetheless revolutionary, goal is finding a way to accelerate a spaceship without having to lug along a gargantuan reservoir of fuel that you blow out a tailpipe. Tethers and solar sails are conventional realizations of the basic idea... "Making Starships and Stargates" will have three parts. The first will deal with information about the theories of relativity needed to understand the predictions of the effects that make possible the "propulsion" techniques, and an explanation of those techniques. The second will deal with experimental investigations into the feasibility of the predicted effects; that is, do the effects exist and can they be applied to propulsion? The third part of the book - the most speculative - will examine the question: what physics is needed if we are to make wormholes and warp drives? Is such physics plausible? And how might we go about actually building such devices? This book pulls all of that material together from various sources, updates and revises it, and presents it in a coherent form so that those interested will be able to find everything of relevance all in one place.
So, hopefully we'll have a lot of very specific details to debate which can head off these very vague and acrimonious discussions. Right now there are too many red herrings - objections are raised about things which the theories don't propose to do. In a month or two, when I and enough other people have copies, I'd be happy to go through many of the points in the book as well.
I agree with the idea behind a couple of polls that have been run this year - a separate space propulsion ideas sub-forum should be set up. We should discuss exotic propulsion there, as well as conventional propulsion like SpaceX. We should post both news stories about spaceflight there, and general discussions and pet theories. We can then keep the spaceflight talk separate from fusion news. MSimon, is it possible to set up the new sub-forum and move threads like this one over there?