Travel: Present and Future

So here we are back in California’s Central Valley, delivering Christmas presents to Kevin’s family. These trips always remind me of Ringworld. The land is very flat, and in the north-south direction it seems to go on forever. It certainly stretches much further than the eye can see. From where we started out it was maybe 100 miles north, and several hundred miles south. To the east and west, however, can be seen the Spill Mountains, which mark the rims of the ring. And as Kevin noted, the Sutter Buttes are presumably Fist of God. The only thing we can’t see is the other side of the ring glittering in the sky above us. (There’s also no sign of Speaker-to-Animals, which is probably just as well.)

There are times when we think it would be nice to live out here. Land is plentiful and cheap (at least compared to the Bay Area); so is the food (all-you-can-eat seafood buffet for $8); and the weather is generally good. But we’d miss the action. To return to the theme, we’d need a transporter booth so that we could get back to San Francisco quickly to go shopping and see our friends.

And then, because you always need something to while away the hours on a long road trip, we got into a little thought experiment about transporter booths. Suppose that the technology did exist; but suppose also that it was quite expensive. You, as President of Earth, have managed to secure sufficient funding to build 10 of the things for the entire planet. Where would you put them? Answers in comments, please. Let’s see if you come up with the same answers as we did.

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4 Responses to Travel: Present and Future

  1. Terry Frost says:

    I’d put all but one of them on transport aircraft so that given a natural or unnatural disaster I could order them flown in to an area and linked to an ongoing refugee processing centre in Central Australia where I’d throw about a trillion dollars into building the biggest and best medical/ accomodation/ education/ psychological rehab area the world has ever seen.

  2. Dara says:

    …we got into a little thought experiment about transporter booths. Suppose that the technology did exist; but suppose also that it was quite expensive. You, as President of Earth, have managed to secure sufficient funding to build 10 of the things for the entire planet. Where would you put them?
    Um, Mars. Also the moon.

    Oh fine, Earth only? Be that way.

    Westlake Station, Seattle, connecting to Shinjuku Station, Tokyo. There’s Daiso stores near both! We could compare stocks and prices.

    Oh wait, that’s just for ME. ^_^

    If you wanted to look at this seriously, hum, well, it’d be important to have one on each inhabited continental mainland, for a variety of reasons economic, fuels-related, and political. You’d like them reasonably central. That’s six. After that, you’d want one in the Indian subcontinent, one in Japan, one in Indonesia, and one either in Moscow (because while technically Europe that’s awfully awfully far or north Africa, with the other African station being in the south, since the Sahara Desert can be considered an ocean from a travel standpoint – if not worse.

    (If you’re wondering, I’m assuming that we want to avoid covering areas that can be handled by high-speed rail. I’m also assuming these are reasonably high-traffic capable.)

  3. Gigi says:

    Keeping in mind that this is not only where I grew up, but where I’ve spent my entire life, do you see now why I think Britain is so very “bumpy”? Not a flat space to be found, except that bit in Trafalgar Square šŸ˜‰

    As for your transporters, I’d have a portable for convention travel (shared by my favorite cons – WorldCon and WFC, shared out by various regional cons when not in use by the biggies) and hubs in major cities worldwide.

    But wow, wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry about an extra travel day for cons?

  4. Cheryl says:

    Gigi dear, I think you need to see Cambridge. You might feel more at home there.

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