Designing a generation/villageship

(Imke Stevens) #1

For an Urban Fantasy story for a competition the people in my story live on a sort of generationship (as seen in science fiction series and in Waterworld) on Earth. This coincides nicely with your research and goal. The deadline of this competition is September 1st, meaning that I cannot wait for the results of your designing competition. But I would like your help.
I have absolutely no experience with boats, ships and the like, but to be able to write my story I do need some knowledge of building such a ship.
Could you perhaps help me out with the following:
The story takes place entirely on one ship, though there are others similar to it. Some of the necessary things will be taken care of by magic.

  • What would such a ship need to have to be self-sufficient and feasible?
  • How many people would be able to live on said ship and how large would it be (comparisons if possible)?
  • How would such a ship be built up? (navigation will probably be on the highest deck, but what would most likely be on which deck when these deck would be numbered, how many decks should such a ship have)

There may come up more questions as I am writing and plotting my story and building the ship (only on paper of course!) but this is what I have right now.

(Bob LLewellyn) #2

Well, I would go with the spherical design with the following changes. I would make it look more like a hot air balloon with the bottom waited for stability like a sail boat does.

The villageship would be more of a barge than a ship but to move it they would make a horseshoe floating robot that would position itself around the village and lock it into place. Then it would suck up water from the front and push it out the two legs in the back. Steering would be to increase the flow from one side or the other. Could also be used to spin the village so it would have a different view throughout the day.

If the village is going to stay in one place, the robot could go off and reposition another village. For construction, follow the conversation about adding some fancy fibers to concrete to make seacrete.

Best I could do on a short notice. Good Luck, I would like to read the story when its finished.

(Mark Stephan) #3

for self-sufficiency you’d have to think about the basics for survival. Food, water, protection from the elements, etc. Plus what they’d need for social survival. Space for community gatherings, places for solitude. Trade with other generationships? You could have a ship as large as needed. There wouldn’t be any limitations technically. What’s the point of navigation, too, if there isn’t a place to go? Are they going somewhere, or just existing, growing, living on their ships?

(Imke Stevens) #4

They would occasionally meet with the other villages and towns and such, if only to prevent inbreeding.
I think that a robot would be too futuristic for this story, but I’m sure that I can think of a magical means.

The construction of the ships will be made completely from material salvaged from the bottom of the ocean, so everything will be encrusted with various sorts of sea things, as is seen in the first appearance of Davy Jones’ Locker in Pirates of the Caribbean, but thanks for the input.

I would love to let you read the story, but I’m going to have to write it in Dutch and I’m not sure if you can read that? :wink:

The point of navigation is to keep communicating with other villageships like it.

My main point of concern is that I don’t know what would have to go where? Are there things that would need to go on a certain deck? In the end I would need/want/like a sort of deck by deck plan of the ship. So that when I write the story I know exactly where all the characters are and how they are going to get from one place to another, where they could hide, where the main character could get bullied, where she has her classes… That sort of thing.

(Chad Elwartowski) #5

Check out this video of a future self sustaining ship:

(Bob LLewellyn) #6

The natural tendency is to put the food production on the top so you could use the natural light, but I would put the hydroponics in the lower decks. Fiber optics could be used to bring in light during daylight hours and use blue and red LED to generate light at night. Plants can’t use green light so there is no point in making it and your green house would actually be more of a reddish purple.

A robot is any machine or computer program that does some function without direct human involvement. We already have cars that drive themselves and they are safer than their human counter parts. You would want your village to be controlled by a computer. Shut down energy usage that is not needed, check environmental conditions like oxygen levels, heat to adjust for comfort and to bring assistance if it is too hot meaning there’s a fire.

Hiding; ‘location wise’, probably the best place to hide would be in the greenhouses where the workers are covered and you could disappear in the foliage. But the best way to hide would be to hide amongst other people. She could dress up like a wondering prostitute visiting from another village. After awhile the patrons get used to the same “working” men and women, so when work gets slow, some will go to another village where they are new and enticing. Change the facial appearance and hide in your own village dressed as a visitor. It worked for star trek. Every time they went to a new planet, they dressed as traveling merchants.(with nothing to sell or buy but for some reason that fact didn’t hurt the story so you got a lot of wiggle room).

Above the food production areas would be food preparation, engineering and computer areas just above that. If your story is using a micro nuclear plant like is used on submarines and air craft carriers then it would go on the lowest level and everything else moved up. Work and shop areas over engineering as the will be the heaviest users of energy other than food production and preparation. Stores and shopping above that.

People have got to go on top where the light and fresh air is. Recreational, parks. Solar cells can float in the water and be wire connected to the ship so you don’t need to take up deck space for energy production. The very top is your communication tower and weather station.

I don’t read Dutch but if you do a good enough job, someone will translate it to English, then I can read it. I’ll wait.

(Imke Stevens) #7


Thanks for the vote of confidence. I do already have other stories out (you can find them on my blog, up at the top under short stories: ) and they are all in English, but I doubt that you’d like my fantasy and or romance stories…

Your robots sound super fancy and my technical understanding is very low (I can operate my laptop, tv, playstation and other gaming controle but that’s it) and because they had to built the ship from scratch I think that there aren’t going to be much robots if any at all.


My thoughts on a few headings:

  • Hull construction

In order for the ship to last for multiple generations it couldn’t really be built from traditional shipbuilding materials like steel or wood. Geopolymer concrete or some sci-fi unobtainium is your friend here.

  • Hull form

Probably with more of an emphasis on stability and volume than hydrodynamics.

  • Size/Economy

Assuming they don’t trade wives/husbands with outsiders, you need a minimum of around 150 breeding adults for genetic stability. Assuming everything for those people is produced on board, it’s going to have to be a big ship. They can probably get away with sourcing their protein/vitamins from fish sources, seaweeds for fabrics/food and coral for some construction, but they’d still need some, on board, food and utility farming, so this thing is going to be much bigger than anything currently on the waves. Metal would probably become very scarce after a few generations as there’s no way to easily obtain ore at sea.

  • Propulsion

Almost certainly sails. 150 people don’t produce enough horsepower to do much with a vessel that size, although I’d imagine they probably have manual bilge pumps. How they’d grow spare spars is beyond me, unless they do something really fancy with genetic engineering to make bamboo grow horizontally.

  • Energy

I’d imagine whaling would be important, both for bone and oil.

(system) closed #9

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