The Raft: Snow Crash

nym | 03:24 PM


In the book, Snow Crash, Neil Stephenson describes this mile wide floating city made up of boats tied together around a giant aircraft carrier. The city would move around the world, and refugees would attach and detach themselves from the mass. This above picture is one artist's concept of the raft.

The concept is a massive raft city comprised of lashed together boats, ships, tankers, junks and whatnot. It isn't fully realized, but i liked the color and the lighting n this one. Enjoy.

I've always loved the concept of a floating city made up of nomads and technomads alike. This illustration is great, but it doesn't quite hit home for me. Someone else had this comment:

The color and lighting ARE great. It really does conjure up Stephenson's wonderful descriptions. My only critcism is that it doesn't feel quite as dirty and claustrophobic as his writing suggests; the scene seems a bit too ideal and saccharin. Good stuff :)

Even as I google this now, I can't find many results for the raft. There is Freedom Ship, an attempt to make a floating city in the form of a giant cruise ship, but nothing as chaotic as Stevenson describes in his novel. I once hosted a site that talked more about this idea at http://mind.blazingfast.net/TheRaft, but it seems that google nor the wayback machine are able to help me reclaim that page.

If you haven't read Snow Crash already, I really recommend it. You can find the descriptions of the raft on pages 118, 370, 387, 404. If you're interested in the concept of the raft, you probably should also check out this wiki page on the topic of floating cities. They even have a mailing list at [email protected].

[ Link ]


I'm not sure how the Raft would work, in practice. I've been 'rafted' with three boats, and it is sort of annoying. The boats each have their own rhythm of reacting to the sea, so you bounce from one against the other, of if you have lines keeping you away from each other you will hit the end of your lines.

Maybe that can all be rigged with spring lines or something to make it suck less.

Or maybe it just sucks to have so little going on that you need to raft up and drift about the world.

But the picture is very cool. That captures a lot of how I saw it.

Posted by: Rich Gibson at February 12, 2006 02:00 AM
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