We are delighted to welcome Jon Wallace back to the Gollancz Blog for a special guest post on Stand-out SciFi Skyscrapers of the Screen. Jon Wallace’s new book Steeple is out in paperback on Thursday.
The sequel to Barricade, Steeple, comes out in paperback this week.
Set in the gloom of a dystopian future Britain, the story follows narrator, Kenstibec, on an insane mission to climb a gigantic, ruined skyscraper – a nightmare tower scarred by a thermonuclear explosion, inhabited by bloodthirsty tribes and rotting drones, pulsing with a mysterious, dormant artificial intelligence.
To mark the publication, and to celebrate the best in SciFi architecture, I’ve picked six SciFi towers from the movies. What are your favourite SciFi towers? Take a look at mine and let me know what I’m missing…
New York is famous for its wonderful architecture: the Public Library, Manhattan Bridge – and of course, 55 Central Park West, immortalized by Dr Raymond Stantz as “Spook Central”.
The High Rise is a kind of techno-occult hub, a structure capable of possessing its inhabitants, with gargoyles can be brought to drooling life. Its magnesium tungsten alloy structure is also perfect for channeling turbulent paranormal energy, opening a portal for ancient Sumerian Gods.
Designed by Ivo Shandor, this handy central city location is perhaps the des-res for worshippers of Gozer the Gozerian.
Mega City One is a vast, brutal, crime-ridden slum: 800 million people living in the ruin of the old world, and the megastructures of the new one. Peach Trees is one of many mega blocks, a lawless vertical shanty under the rule of drug queen “Mama”.
Every surface of Peach Trees looks stained and sticky, its very structure corrupted. Its citizens cower in apartments, terrorized by mama’s roving gangs and drug-addled execution squads. It’s a rotting Brutalist housing estate swollen to unnatural size, with no natural light, no parks and no community.
Still, if two Judges happen to turn up and efficiently slaughter the gangs, at least some kind of order will be restored.
If you’re looking to live in a hybrid Art Deco/ Fascist dream scape, Joh Fredersen’s New Tower of Babel could be the place for you. Designed by Otto Hunte, who went on to work on Nazi hate films, it’s the tallest building in the pristine surface world of Metropolis.
Things aren’t so swell underground of course, where workers are enslaved or swallowed up by machines, itching with revolutionary zeal. Thankfully if you’re abiding in the New Tower of Babel you probably have a mad scientist on the payroll, and Robotic spies to infiltrate and subvert the rebellion. Just watch your kids don’t get bored and go looking for trouble.
Biff Tannen grins down from a structure that seems to have been teleported to Hill Valley direct from Las Vegas: a towering monument to sleaze, ill gotten gains and its owner’s inadequacies, sitting like a gigantic middle finger where the small town’s courthouse once stood. It was designed with its owners needs in mind, with special accommodation for hired goons, imprisoned spouses, and with a handy rooftop location for the murdering of McFlys.
If you’re a fan of Trump-esque fashion, jacuzzis, gambling – and portraits of the owner – Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise could be the hotel for you. The really terrifying thing is imagining the White House decked out in such fashion.
Omni Consumer Products (OCP) HQ is an 80s spire shimmering over Old Detroit – that once proud city made a post-industrial wasteland by unhinged corporate greed.
Old Detroit has a cancer, and the cancer is crime. The homicidal Reaganite Execs populating OCP tower plan to operate, even if their methods are hardly surgical – imposing robotic martial law until the city can be demolished, making way for the Old Man’s dream of a new corporate citadel: “Delta City”.
The Old man is “very disappointed” when a malfunctioning Enforcement Droid 209 brutally slays his employee in the tower boardroom, crushing his model of Delta City in the process. But that’s what it’s like working for OCP. That’s life in the big city.
Sited on the edge of Los Angeles, Tyrrell Corp’s headquarters is a 700 story monument to a corporate empire with tentacles stretching into space, its power maintained by its line of Replicants: artificial, expendable people built as slaves.
Many people refer to the building as a pyramid, which is appropriate for a place home to the near Gods like Tyrell who build life from scratch: but it looks as much like a bunker, or a spacecraft ready to launch. If moody orange lighting with views of stacked and packed neon skyscrapers is your thing, a penthouse suite here would certainly suit. Or you could move to Shanghai. Either is good.
Steeple is out on 10 March priced £8.99. Part 1 in the series, Barricade, is available for the same price in paperback, or £4.49 in ebook. Follow Jon on Twitter @Jon__Wallace or visit his website jonwallace.co