Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Traction City  
  Cities re-engineered as enormous, lumbering machines.  

A Traction City can be huge - an "Urbivore" with millions of inhabitants, to villages that move using small engines or sails.

Big Traction Cities are built in tiers like a wedding cake; the poor live next to the tracks and engines on the bottom, and the upper classes enjoy their mansions at the top of the city.

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)

From Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve.
Published by EOS in 2003
Additional resources -

Most cities have attachments called "Jaws" to catch prey and drag it into the Gut of the city. Here the prey is stripped, melted down and used as fuel. Its inhabitants then become members of the predator city, or even taken as slaves.

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.

Thanks to Alex Mair for contributing this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mortal Engines
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip Reeve
  Tech news articles related to Mortal Engines
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip Reeve

Traction City-related news articles:
  - Garbage-Eating Factories Now, Voracious Cities Later
  - CV08 Suburb-Eating Robot Concept
  - EATR - DARPA's Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot
  - Very Large Structure - A Megamachine

Articles related to Living Space
3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

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.

 

 

 

 

More News

CAV-X Supercavitating Ammo Deadly Underwater
'...in the midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots could not go far.'

Space Domes Over-rated? Science Fiction Authors Have Answers
'This was to be roofed over, sealed, and an atmosphere provided...'

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

Autonomous Wheelchairs Improve Airport Mobility
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.

Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...'

Viisights AI Hones Video Surveillance
'The math boys worked it out...'

Cybertruck The Solar-Powered Steel Tortoise
'It drew its power from... sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'

Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.