Tales of Future Past v2

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Floating City

Future City > Urban Utopias

Two guys I would not want along on a camping trip. If H. G. Wells was uncomfortable with nature, Hugo Gernsback had issues with the whole surface of the Earth. His idea of the ultimate city was one that got as far away from dirt as you can without actually getting into orbit. Nothing but glass, metal, and plastic all day long -- who would be happy with that? Gernsback, apparently, who had this to say about his floating city in the sky:

This illustration reproduced from the magazine SCIENCE AND INVENTION of February 1922, shows a city 10,000 years hence as conceived by Hugo Gernsback, and based on a prediction by Captain Lawson of aerial fame. The city the size of New York will float several miles above the surface of the earth, where the air is cleaner and purer and free from disease carrying bacteria. Gravity-nullifying devices were pictured as the means of keeping the cities suspended. Four gigantic generators will shoot earthward electric rays which by reaction with the earth produce the force to keep the city aloft. By increasing of decreasing the electrical energy the city may be raised or lowered as desired. The city is roofed over by a substance which is transparent, strong and unbreakable. The atmospheric pressure within the city will probably be four or five pounds per square inch instead of 14.7, as it now is. Possibly, therefore, future men will have larger chests than we do. Furthermore, by rising above the clouds we will be freed from rain, snow and thunder showers. We will have in fact perpetual sunlight. The city will derive its energy from the sun, the solar energy being converted into electrical energy.

All very well and good, but if we assume that fantasy technologies like antigravity aren't involved and unless Newton's laws have been repealed in 10,000 years, those electric rays are going to have to produce thrust to hold the city up. If it weighs anything what New York does, the countryside beneath is going to be crushed flat right down to the bedrock; which probably suited Gernsback just fine.

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