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 -
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.
Arcology Now Universal Constructor
'... the hotel direly wanted to exist.'- Bruce Sterling, 1998.
Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go
'It rested among green parklands and... stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors.'- Pournelle and Niven, 1981
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.
Survival Seed Vault Low Cost Life Bank
'They existed in the Life Bank, as did virtually every plant...'
PoseiDrone Tentacled Undersea Robot Like HG Wells'
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine...'
Bionic Hand Provides 'Lifelike' Sensations, Like Luke Skywalker's
'Take care, sir.'
Man-Made Space Leaf Creates Oxygen From Water And Light
'What better purifying machine is there than... grass?'
Robot With Broken Leg Learns To Walk Again
Robots that learn to walk again are now on the march.
World's First Android Newscaster (Video)
'The autonomic TV interviewer, camera in its hand, blocked his path.'
Japan Invites Robot Athletes To Gather For 2020 Olympics
It's time we started to get rid of that distinction between metal and flesh, and IC and neuron, don't you think?
CV Dazzle Anti-Surveillance Make-Up
Let's hear it for the vague blur!
LG Display's 18 Inch Flexible OLED Panel Is Awesomely Cool
'...a wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling color.'
Tiniest Microphone Inspired By Fly
'Transmitting to its manipulator, far away now, all that it heard through its ear microphones...'
NASA's Highway In The Sky For Drones
Traffic is everywhere.
Palcohol Powdered Alcohol - Try Or Ban?
'I had a small can of powdered alcohol disguised as tooth powder...'
pd.id Personal Drink ID Device Like Dune 'Poison Snooper'
'The jeweled hands clutching drinks (and the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers)...'
Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'
Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'
Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories