Post by Jack Bohn
I'd have to refine the models, learn how to use the program I have for
the animation, and learn how to get a Youtube account before something
else shiny catches my attention, but over the last week I looked up
A black speck of a Hydrot "spaceship" from Blish's "Surface Tension".
A two-inch tube, the book sez (5 cm). Either there are some large
paramecia and diatoms on that planet, or those people built their first
puddle-jumper along the lines of the Skylark Three.
General Products #1 hull; I gave it quite the index of refraction because
that's what the 3-D program I happen to have was made to play with.
Beyond it the pinlighter from Cordwainer Smith's "Game of Rat and Dragon".
Way back, Verne's Moon shell. These last two ships are not self-contained.
The Verne shell, again.
A Heechee ship, a One, from Pohl's _Gateway_.
General Products #2 hull.
The Ark as described in the book _When Worlds Collide_. It's height
is given a 135 feet (41 meters), whereas the one in the movie was more
than 400 feet long; this one runs on "atomic energy" where the movie
one used chemical fuels more known and believable in the '50s.
The Red Peri from Weinbaum's "The Red Peri". The ship isn't all red,
it should just have a red peri painted on the uppermost hull, but this
makes it stand out.
General Products #3 hull.
McAndrew balanced drive, from the fixup _The McAndrew Chronicles_ or
_One Man's Universe_, shown accelerating away from us. It is a
hundred-meter disk of neutronium; a small personnel capsule rides up
and down a 250-meter-long shaft to the point where the gravitational
pull of the disk counters the effects of the acceleration of the ship,
up to 50 gs.
Way far back, Honor Harrington's first command, the Fearless. I threw
it in here because it doesn't have much company at a larger scale.
I'm afraid ships of this size will generally have a description of a
single significant digit of the hundred of feet/meters/yards long they
are, maybe prefixed by a modifier like "almost" or "more than". (James
White's Sector General is famously 384 levels. Assuming a level is
equivalent to a story, and assigning it a generous 5 meters, we get a
nearly 2km high space station.
General Products #4, Skylarks, Sector General, _Gateway_, Cities in Flight,
Rama, _Titan_, _Mutineer's Moon_, _The Wanderer_, Mongo, Bronson Alpha
and Bronson Beta are all shrunk to dots. (In fact, I had to exaggerate
the size of Ringworld's sun to make sure it didn't fall between pixels.)
Ringworld, Cuckcoo from _Wall Around a Star_ and one of the golden ships
from "Golden the Ship Was, Oh- Oh- Oh_" (well, my conception of it, it's
hard to get eyewitness accounts). The ship was said to shimmer like fire.
Thinking about animating that, it occurs to me that any change propagating
across it at even the speed of light would take 8 minutes to go from end
to end. If the whole ship filled a hi-res display of 1920 pixels, the
pattern would move at 4 pixels per second; we are all old enough to
remember download bars that moved that slowly. Reading the story closely,
the ship appeared to the enemy fleet for 20 to 30 thousandths of a second.
*This* is what would produce a shimmer, as the image of the closest part
appears first, for a fraction of a second, then light from farther parts
arrives, giving the effect of a circular spotlight sweeping along the hull
in afterimages for -again- up to eight minutes.
(Cuckcoo was just a place to check for umbra and penumbra -- I get just
a hint of it from the shadow squares. The background was made a bit
lighter than black because the whole scene is lit solely by Ringworld's sun.)
to me than the TV and movie ships that appear earlier in this thread. TV
and movies tend towards gimcrackery from my perspective. YMMV.
dominates Ringworld? TIA.