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26 Sep 2011

SIP - Vehicle Design choice

Over the weekend I've been looking into what vehicle I want to transcribe for the project. I knew i wanted it to be sci-fi and a spacecraft so I used literature to find one. I looked into fiction as I feel it gives more variety then what can be presumed of.

So I settled on the book 'Hyperion' by Dan Simmons for inspiration. I read the book a few years back on holiday so I could distincty remember a shi that stuck in my mind. The ship is called the 'Yggdrasil Treeship'.

Based on 'The Tree of Life' from Norse mythology, the treeships main purpose is luxury transportation. Acting as a fusion between organic life and mechanical prowess, the ship looks like a large tree concealed in a force field, wired into engines and machinery. The ship itself is propelled by small aliens called 'Ergs' who are encased in containers at the base. Another feather of the ship is the 'Hawking Drive' that enables faster then light travel. In the books, the Hawking drive has many appearances but the ones attached to 'Yggdrasil' are shaped like feathers on an arrow. The tree is entwined with machinery and life, such as habitat pods and walkways. Here are some descriptions taken from the book and author about the ship.

'The Consul remembered his first glimpse of the kilometer-long treeship as he closed for rendezvous, the treeship's details blurred by the redundant machine and erg-generated containment fields which surrounded it like a spherical mist, but its leafy bulk clearly ablaze with thousands of lights which shone softly through leaves and thin-walled environment pods, or along countless platforms, bridges command decks, stairways and bowers. Around the base of the treeship, engineering and cargo spheres clustered like oversized galls while blue and violet streamers trailed behind like ten kilometer-long roots...

The Consul paused, moved to the edge of the walkway, and took a quick step back. It was at least six hundred meters down - down being created by the one-sixth standard gravity being generated by the singularities imprisoned at the base of the tree ...

A Templar treeship normally carried between two and five thousand passengers; it was easily the most desirable way to travel between the stars.


Page 8 - Hyperion

This segment desribes when one of the main characters sees the ship for the first time. It explains the looks of the ship from an exterior point.

Treeships are living trees that are propelled by ergs (an alien being that emits force fields) through space. The ergs also generate the containment fields (force fields) around the tree that keep its atmosphere intact. There are only four treeships in existence including the Yggdrasil.

'Yggdrasil' description

In Dan Simmons' Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel Hyperion, the first in the Hyperion Cantos series, Ergs are quasi-telepathic sentient (but not sapient) silicon-based life forms discovered around planet Aldebaran which generate and control extreme force-fields.
In the same series, Ergs are used to propel Templar Treeships. The ergs also generate the containment fields (force fields) around the tree that keep its atmosphere intact. It is implied by the author that the Templars have devised some way of communicating with the ergs.


This explains the Erg and there existence with the habitats of the treeship. This allows me to picture how the ship and alien containers coexist.

 the Templars ply the spaceways in giant "treeships", organic starships grown in a manner similar to Dyson trees and capable of carrying thousands of crewmen and passengers over vast distances. Containment fields in the treeships maintain atmosphere and the passengers are placed in hibernation while the ship's Hawking drive is engaged. Slower-than-light movement of the treeship is achieved through the use of ergs, living organisms capable of manipulating gravitational fields.

Describing how the treeship operates. It also mentions the hibernation pods that are vital to it's purpose. It also applies the science fiction to a real scientific theory in Dyson Trees.

The Hawking Drive was developed by humanity before the Big Mistake, allowing the faster than light travel which led to the Hegira. It was named after Stephen Hawking; whereas the hawking mat was named after the species of bird found on old Earth.

The Hawking Drives functionality are the use for it.

... and it's Hawking Drive and Fusion Blisters set far back along the launch shaft like feathers on an arrow.

Page 14 - Hyperion

Describes the placement of the drives on the ship. This allows me to envision a pivotal part of the design.

The descriptions available to me and the lore of the world that Simmons has created allows me to see how I want the final ship to look. I plan to now mock up an idea of what the ship could look like by combining all the aspects.

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