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"I would say 75% of the economy is now being run by ex-science-fiction fans."
- Greg Bear

Float-home  
  Living entity genetically designed for use as a houseboat.  

In the novel, the plot turns on whether or not the largest entities in the known universe will form attachments or feel love for human beings. These entities are familiar to all of us.

Rather than getting comfort from convenience devices based on machinery, the author uses animals to convey simple feelings at the most basic animal level. In this excerpt, Jorj X. McKie arrived at a sort of living houseboat to meet his lover.

She had already vacated the float-home, and McKie could sense the living entity's resentment. He had shattered the idyll which the float-home had been conditioned to create. The float-home would return to its former affability once he was gone. They were gentle creatures, susceptible to sentient irritation.
Technovelgy from Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Galaxy Publishing in 1969
Additional resources -

What kind of creature would you start with - to end up with a float-home? Maybe a manatee? While you are thinking about it, take a look at an Australian houseboat tour.

Be sure to take a look at a Herbert classic - the chairdog.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Whipping Star
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Whipping Star
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Float-home-related news articles:
  - Burj Dubai Tower Update

Articles related to Living Space
LiquidView Ersatz Windows, ala Philip K. Dick
Solar House Concept Unfolds Solar Panels Like A Flower
San Fran's Tiny Homeless
Rotating House in Bosnia

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