Giving “Garden City” a Whole New Meaning

I know I sounded all ready to make a story based on my ice dragon world concept outlined in a recent blog post, but it just doesn’t feel right no matter how much I tinker with it or what I combine it with; I’ve learned from experience that it’s best for me to wait until a story or worldbuilding concept genuinely inspires me, as any other way it’s just half-baked. I do have a new idea, however, that might be super cool if I can find a proper context to put it in: a city of the far future that’s like a plant in a hanging pot, complete with flowers, giant-sized flowers dangling down it.

Like, the pot is scaled up to the size of a downtown and the city is on top of the pot, where the topsoil level would normally be, with the giant-sized flowers and vines at the edge forming a rim of parkland. The city-sized pots would of course dangle from a line of some sort, like a cable suspended between two mountains, a la a simple suspension bridge. In Star Wars the cities of Cato Neimoidia were on the suspended cables themselves, but in my version the actual cities are rooted in pots that dangle from the suspended lines. Picture the below, only instead of an eave of a house it’s a suspended rope, and instead of a small flower pot it’s a city, studded with giant flowers:

Photograph by Tamekia Andress

Of course multiple cities could dangle from a given rope, perhaps being linked via some sort of transit that passes through the interior of the cables, reaching upward from the edge of the city-pot through the hook at the top, and thence through the suspension line to the other potted cities. If the cities were lit up at night the net effect of such a string would be not too dissimilar to Christmas lights, only on a far grander scale.

That would be one compelling setting for a planet or possibly a world-sized rotating space habitat! Even better: the entire city itself could be organic; that is, all the buildings could be grown rather than constructed per se, hewn from plant material genetically engineered to grow in organic, earthy, yet useful-for-a-building structures. Think like literally living in giant trees or giant flowers. Together with the miles-wide-and-tall hanging plant pots this would give “garden city” a whole new meaning…

I was thinking I could combine it with the dragon story, as in instead of a medieval castle the homestead could be one of these organic hanging pot cities attacked by the dragon, with the suspension lines not being designed to hold up under a bombardment of cryogenic liquid helium! But I still just don’t quite like it; it just doesn’t come together in my mind into a strong coherent story or even world (for worldbuilding purposes). Hmph.

Anyway, I like the general idea of a setting like this in the far future of my space-opera universe. Already a thousand years from now, as depicted in “Warp Dawn”, the Sisters of Mokosh use all-organic technology, as opposed to mechanical technology, wherever possible, with their ultimate aim being to replace all mechanical technology with living things. What if this ambition is realized with the ever-greater advancement of biotechnology, and the whole world comes alive in the fullness of time, even if it takes thousands or even tens of thousands of years? Ooh…a series of cities that are literally plants on hanging pots would fit together with the Sisterhood’s ethos like a watch. No doubt there are many cultures and offshoots other than the Sisters of Mokosh who would utilize such technology and technique.

Fitting in with this would be organic warp drives that are living things; as depicted in “The Saga of the Ilithianades”, technology millennia ahead of where mankind is by roughly 2000 years from now enables a warp drive miniaturized enough to fit on a man’s ring finger, leading to “warp rings”, personal devices telepathically controlled which can open up a personal-sized wormhole to wherever you want to go. You can flit between planets and other destinations without a vehicle! No more need for spaceships or starships, other than as residences. That’s a radical change from “merely” several millennia in the future. By, say, 20,000 years from now that’ll be the standard: appearing and disappearing in a bubble of spacetime at will.

I was also thinking that quark matter and preon matter (see this and this blog post of mine), which by 20,000 years hence mankind has mastered as part of the ultimate (for our level of reality, anyway, pre-ascension) technological plateau being reached, might make for the ultimate in impenetrable armor, leading to a return to warriors being heavily armored and defenders having the advantage, like in the medieval era, with the only way to penetrate being to project a lot of energy at close range, exactly the sort of environment where the weapon of choice would be something like a lightsaber, the extreme power requirements of which are easily within the ken of mankind at the technological plateau (think whole pocket universes linked by wormhole that annihilate antimatter or some such).

I think I’ll go with preon-matter armor coupled with lightsabers (called something else of course) for my really far future, think tens of thousands of years past “Warp Dawn” and afterwards. This armor and the lightsabers in more advanced versions may even be living things unto themselves (possibly even intelligent persons), fully organic and grown rather than built. That would really be something different from the “nearer” far future of my setting, and serve as a differentiator. There’s also nothing cooler than lightsabers and medieval-style knights, so having the vast majority of future human history dominated by such technologies makes sense. It enables some fantasy-style aesthetic and plot while remaining science-fictional.

Imagine if such a warrior came to our time: appearing out of thin air, walking out of a bubble of spatial distortion, heavily clad in armor from head to toe that even a nuclear weapon can’t touch, wielding a glowing lightsaber that can slice and cut through any substance…it would be like beholding a ghost with god-like powers.

All really cool stuff if you ask me, and something that could really flesh out a far-far-future setting in my space-operatic timeline.

2 Replies to “Giving “Garden City” a Whole New Meaning”

  1. The question is why would anyone want the city to look like a line of hanging plant pots.

    Typically when cities are grown in fiction they are grown from the ground for the simple reason it’s easier.

    If it needs to be hung – for better separation from some stuff living on the ground, to get access to light/air/… why like a hanging pot?

    The hanging mechanism is likely an awkward single point of failure, and other construction like a huge bridge with the whole top covered in soil and vegetation sounds more practical.

    Finally, the giant flowers and leaves are not something I would want hanging above my house. When they fall it may be way too problematic.

    In certain science-fiction (which I have available only in an obscure language, unfortunately) they had a fungus technology which could be used for food, everyday use items, clothing, houses, and even artificial islands or starships. The fungi are better at forming arbitrarily shaped structures but the challenge is to find out a way to grow a fungus house in which the rooms do not grow smaller over time. Or maybe they would if the house is abandoned, and ruins would look like solid fungus with the occasional non-fungal item grown into it 😉

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