Very Large Structure - A Megamachine
Very Large Structure is a proposal by Manuel Domínguez for a mobile land management mega-machine for Castile and León in Spain.
(A very large structure)
It's a walking city, for want of a better term, though rather than conceived as a global wanderer perpetually moving on to greener pastures, the VLS remains in basically the same place to tend to and improve the pastures that it's got...
I want to quickly invoke the opening line of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines, the first in a quartet of novels about walking cities (on tracts, like the VLS) in a resource-depleted future preying on smaller walking cities and their supplies, literally swallowing them whole when caught —
a very large structure
It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.
In happier times, London would never have bothered with such feeble prey. The great Traction City had once spent its days hunting far bigger towns than this, ranging north as far as the edge of the Ice Wastes and south to the shores of the Mediterranean. But lately prey of any kind had started to grow scarce, and some of the larger cities had begun to look hungrily at London...
...lookouts on the high watchtowers spied the mining town, gnawing at the salt flats twenty miles ahead... [the] mining town saw the danger and turned tail, but already the huge caterpillar tracks under London were starting to roll fostering faster. Soon the city was lumbering in hot pursuit, a moving mountain of metal which rose in seven tiers like layers of a wedding cake, the lower levels wreathed in engine smoke, the villas of the rich gleaming white on the higher decks, and above it all the cross on top of St Pauls Cathedral glinting gold, 2000 feet above the ruined earth.
Traction Cities from Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
For a much earlier take on the basic idea, see the steam-powered houses from Henry Loudon's 1828 classic The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century.
Update 11-Feb-2013: See also this cover art from the novel Inverted World by Christopher Priest. In the novel, Helward Mann lives in a city called "Earth", a giant structure that is slowly winched along on a set of tracks forever northward.
(Inverted World cover art)
Thanks to GwenH for writing in with this reference. End update.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/1/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
City Made Of Bone
'The cheapest building material known...' - Larry Niven, 1968.
Tokyo Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid
'...the Sense/Net Pyramid screamed.' - William Gibson, 1984.
Electrochromic FIlm For Smart Windows
'The glass had been muted to dark blue.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
UK's Self-Repairing Cities
'The city was divided into two sections, a section of many strata where machines functioned smoothly...' - John W. Campbell, 1934.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
City Made Of Bone
'The cheapest building material known...'
SpotMini Robot Pierson's Puppeteer-Style
Now they're kind of cute, right?
Brick By Brick, Building Martian Bases
Don't try to boost everything from the surface of the Earth.
Elon Musk et. al. OpenAI Household Robot
'Any work a human being does around a house.'
BRUISE Smart Injury Detection Suit
'... Bee could see that three of them were disabled and two of them damaged.'
Tesla Model S Is Also A Boat (Sort Of)
'This Dick Dare contraption of yours...'
Promobot, The Runaway Russian Robot!
'Got yourself a runaway, Jack?'
Rowbot Small Autonomous Farm Robot
'...The tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'
Amazon's Alexa To Recognize Emotions
Oh, Hal understood their emotions, all right.
Cool 'Single-Person Spaceships' Have Better SF Name
'A cabin so small, you couldn't stand up with the air lock closed..'
First Robot Suicide Has Science Fiction Roots
'What had happened to prevent my death?'
First US Clinical Trial For Wearable Artificial Kidney
'Wholly mechanical organs...'
Open Bionics To Produce Deus Ex Prosthetic Designs
Be a part of a science fictional future.
Human-Carrying Drone Taxi 184 Approved For Test Flights
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble...'
Skating On Mars' Frozen Pools
'They went down, put on their skates, and started.'
Google Working On A 'Cutoff Switch' For AI
'A remote control, so you can pull the plug on Hal whenever you want to.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories