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 city)


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.

From PostView.

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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Living Space ")

MULTI First Cable-Free Elevator Like Turbolift
I guess I'd need to know that this is better than the idea that Mr. Otis had. Maybe we could test it with a horse?

The Living Tree House
'There were trees comprised of a central columnar trunk and four vast leaves...'- Jack Vance, 1954.

Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'- Harry Harrison, 1970.

Time For Bradbury's 'Smart Home'?
'This house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them...' - Ray Bradbury, 1951.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

BMW's Remote Valet Parking Assistant
'Mary... claimed her car from the robopark...'

HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin
'Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin...'

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.

Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA
'the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom... and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'

FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory
'The reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.