Get away from it all – the vehicle of science

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Nothing can beat the feeling of freedom experienced vicariously by the reader Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom stories when the hero runs out flier him and stretch out on it, open the throttle to go soaring into the thin air of ancient Mars.


When I do find it strange urge for solitude coming over me, it is usually used to take one man flier and range Dead Sea bottom and other uninhabited wildernesses of the dying planet; it certainly is solitude. There are huge areas on Mars where no human foot has ever trod and other great area for thousands of years have known only the giant green men, wandering nomadic ocher desert. [Llana of Gathoni]

The Ooranye Project has to some extent followed Burroughs in the business of providing freedom in the air to the characters in his stories. However, “skimmers” in giant planet Ooranye (Uranus) differ in some important information from “fliers” used on Barsoom. Uranium skimmers travel relatively close to the ground – “air” is six miles, although the dangerous and exceptional circumstances “storm riding” they can go higher. Their maximum speed is two hundred miles per hour. The pilot sits in a skimmer, unlike pilot Barsoomian single flier lying prone in length. To wayfarer one immensitiy the Ooranye, a skimmer is almost part of his / her self

Other memorable SF vehicles :. Moon monorail system described in Earth Light Arthur C Clarke ; many luxury bed-yachts coveted of the characters in Jack Vance novels such as Emphyrio and Maske: Thaery ; and bring the roads in Robert Heinlein’s The Roads Must Roll . Sometimes we find whole cities given the ability to mobility, and in such cases is no longer a case of vehicular movement but the whole society on the move. There is a brief description of this in Hodgson The Night Country , when the far-future history of man, living in an age when the earth has stopped turning, hears of time long in his past (though long in our future) when planet still turning, albeit slowly, and cities on wheels follow the light as it called home. Then we have the famous “okie” series by James Blish, called Cities in Flight , where the historic cities of the earth lifted into space by antigravity and go wandering around the galaxy.

To my mind perhaps the most memorable SF inventions in the field of transport is described in any story Colin Kapp’s “Lambda One” (1962). It is one of the rare SF stories offer to full sense of wonder tinged with an almost superstitious fear, that somehow coldly real fantasy that only this type seems to provide.

Kapp describes the transmission based on the device based on the configuration of the oscillation, which makes a great liners moving hundreds of passengers to travel through the solid. It does this by stages atoms in vehicles and people on board, so they can go through the world of the earth itself, in an absolute straight line from departure to destination. Note that this is not just like digging machine as in Leinster is “The Mole Pirate” or Burroughs’ On Earth Core . The liners in the history of travel Race through it in effect is another type of space. From our point of view they have de-materialized. They travel on one of the four known swing voltage mode; Trouble is, it’s spooky fifth mode, the fear of employees today, they call Omega, and which produces a kind of reality that drives people insane. A liner is lost in a strange mode of existence, and an attempt is made on the old experimental craft to brave the unknown to save the ship …

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