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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Monoline  
  A wind-driven overland transport.  

Wind blew in sails, and trolley wheels whispered down the monoline - a half inch strand of white Swamp Island cable. From the dome at Swamp City, the line led from spine to spine across three miles of swamp to a rocky headland; it crossed over the rotten bassalt with only six inches to spare, swung in a wide curve to the southeast. At fifty foot intervals, L-brackets mounted to poles supported the line, so designed that the trolleys slid across with only a tremor and slight thud of contact.
Technovelgy from Big Planet, by Jack Vance.
Published by Startling Stories in 1952
Additional resources -

The wood was shaped and fitted with painstaking precision, and performed as well as any metal machine from the shops of Earth.

The big wheel was laminated from ten seperate strips, glued, grooved and polished. Spokes of hardened withe supported the central hub, whose bearings were wrought from a greasy black hardwood... Propulsion was achieved by sails, set to a lateen boom... Within reach was a double hand-crank,offset like the pedals of a bicycle; turning the crank would drive the trolley up any slight slope at the end of a long suspension which momentum and the pressure of the sails were unable to negotiate.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Big Planet
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to Big Planet
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

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