Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Long Dark - ridiculously large vehicles

Last week I talked about Elysium’s towns and cities. One teensy detail I mentioned in passing - the ridiculously large vehicle garages - might have raised an eyebrow or two if anyone stopped to thing about it.

Why would they need garages anywhere up to three hundred meters long?

The answer is, they need to shelter ridiculously large vehicles.

The people on Elysium travel the surface in modular vehicles, that can easily stretch half a kilometer in length. These giant crawlers are made up of alternating cars slung between wheel and power units (called yoops - short for Universal Power Unit). The wheels are lightweight, sprung mesh seven meters in diameter. Think moon buggy scaled up an order of magnitude. The cars they support are giant boxes about twelve meters square and four floors tall.

Of course, these aren’t the kind of vehicles you take out on a jaunt, or drive down to the corner store. These are working vehicles.

The colonists make a living harvesting materials from the depths of the planet-girdling plant mass. During the summer months they can spend weeks out in the field, hundreds of kilometers from the nearest town. Crawlers carry everything they need to support a harvesting crew of fifty, along with climbing, cutting, and hauling machinery, and storage to carry their finds back for processing.

At the turn of the seasons, these same crawlers carry the entire town’s population, belongings, and equipment across the equator to towns in the other hemisphere where they resume work for the next few Earth years.


  1. Hi Ian - yes you'd need something to keep those crawlie things protected from the elements ... wonderful world you're weaving - cheers Hilary

  2. If they are working a ways from a city, they'd need a lot to support a group of people, so the large crawlers makes sense.

  3. Hilary, especially when the elements at some times of the year are powerful enough to rip an unprotected vehicle to shreds.

    Alex, that was my thinking. Plus, I liked the idea of large vehicles and - hey - I'm the author so I get to write what I like :)

  4. I LOVE the thought you put into your world-building. All those details make a huge difference, and they make the tales that much more believable. Nothing ruins a book for me faster than the absence of good logic.

    By the way, my husband would LOVE to have a garage that big... :)

  5. Susan, just think of how many years' worth of junk you could fit in a garage that size :)

    1. OY! I'd rather NOT think of how much more junk we'd put into a building that size. Junk is like air... it expands to fill whatever size space you put it into.

  6. Great world building here. :) Giant garages, ugh, I don't need more to keep clean, but the harvesting trip sounds like it could be fun along with the work, since it only happens once every six years.

  7. Jean, the six-yearly trek might be a break from routine, but a couple of weeks in confined spaces with hundreds of other people could also be a recipe for friction!


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