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What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers? 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:27 pm
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Post What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
It's never actually said, but the implication is that the strips just wrap around big powered rollers, and go underneath, back to whence they came.

So what happens to the silverware on the tables in Jake's beanery #4?

For that matter, as long as that road is, how did the Chief and the guy from Australia manage to get to the restaurant so easily?

Roses are red, and violets are blue. As Spider points out: violets aren't blue, they're *violet*. How have we missed this, all these years? My suspension of disbelief just busted like a leaf spring...


Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:08 pm
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
Heinlein actually made some very workmanlike drafts of the machinery, just enough so that he could accurately frame his descriptions etc. I glanced them over back in my days at the UCSC archives.

If I am remembering correctly, and there may be faint hints in the story, the roads did not move like a belt but like the overlapping-plate things you see in baggage carousels - the plates moved around in an extremely flattened circle, a very very long ellipse, and the same plates traveled from one point round at least two "roundabout" bends and back where they came.

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Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:39 pm
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
My snap reaction to that is that since the 100mph "Strip" is on the inside, that just means that the people eating lunch will be thrown against the *side* walls instead of the ceiling, when they get to the end.

I still can't visualize any way you could practically *build things on the road* (as opposed to next to the road), and have them be usable, myself.


Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:37 pm
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
I can visualize a strip road with structures on it as easily as I can visualize the starships that occupy so many of our visionary thinkers.

At the moment, we can't overcome the technical and human issues to put a human bootprint on our nearest semi-habitable planetary neighbor, much less ships that can zoom around Enterprise or MilFalcon style. Doesn't stop a very large number of folks from treating the issues of a Mars run as solved except for money and will. (And of an intersystem ship as solved except for money, will and fear of nuculur power.)

So the minor issues of how large plate/belt sections would anchor and provide infrastructure for structures, and make the loop between cities... child's play, really. :)


Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:05 pm
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
This was one of my favorite Heinlein tales when I was a child. I spent many hours thinking about the practicalities of a "rolling road" system. But that's all it was really; a neat story, very original, that transported readers to a very different world in the not too distant future. If such a system were built in the real world, of course, it would be an environmental, financial and cultural disaster but science fiction, like rock-n-roll, does not need to be practical to be effective. What was equally fascinating to me was Heinlein's depiction of the vast army of Government engineers and workers necessary to keep the roads rolling and the unique quasi-military society they inhabited.

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Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:55 am
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
Jack Kelly wrote:
This was one of my favorite Heinlein tales when I was a child. I spent many hours thinking about the practicalities of a "rolling road" system. But that's all it was really; a neat story, very original, that transported readers to a very different world in the not too distant future. If such a system were built in the real world, of course, it would be an environmental, financial and cultural disaster but science fiction, like rock-n-roll, does not need to be practical to be effective. What was equally fascinating to me was Heinlein's depiction of the vast army of Government engineers and workers necessary to keep the roads rolling and the unique quasi-military society they inhabited.

One thing to keep in mind it that it's much more *fantastic* now than it was in 1940 -- we accept as humdrum reality now the equally miraculous investment that actually was made in the interstate highway system. If you go back and look at news and other reports from the completion of the Pasadena Freeway, what those people are saying is "goshwow!" it's the Future!


Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:26 am
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
Jack Kelly wrote:
What was equally fascinating to me was Heinlein's depiction of the vast army of Government engineers and workers necessary to keep the roads rolling and the unique quasi-military society they inhabited.

I wonder where he got the idea? :D


Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:28 am
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
James Gifford wrote:
Jack Kelly wrote:
What was equally fascinating to me was Heinlein's depiction of the vast army of Government engineers and workers necessary to keep the roads rolling and the unique quasi-military society they inhabited.

I wonder where he got the idea? :D


Well, yeah, but I didn't know the whole backstory when I was a lad. ;)

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Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:52 am
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
I don’t know why there is a problem picturing this. It is not easy engineering, but it is possible. If I remember correctly there is a reference to the roads in a later future history story that said it was one of the worst engineering ever (something like that).

Anyway if you have ever been to San Francisco; the cable cars are pulled along by a constantly moving cable in the ground. The cars grab the cable to move and when they get to the end of the line they release the cable and coast onto the turn table to turn around and grab the cable in the other direction. A better example of how this could work would be the people mover ride at Disneyland. The cars are on flat plates that keep moving. When you get to a station they go around the outside of a turn table moving at the same speed as the cars; you just step in one to get a ride. The people get on the turn table by a stairway in the center. So if the buildings are on the top of the moving plates when they get to the end of the line you have a big flat turning mechanism to turn the building around and start it back in the other direction. It does not go underground and back upside-down; just back in the other direction.

What to me is a harder issue is the belts going at different speeds so you can get up to the 100 mph belt. Each belt would need to have nearly the same relative speed; you could only step up or down a couple of miles per hour each time or there would be a lot of accidents. So we are talking thirty to fifty belts each at least five to ten feet wide; it would be a long walk to the 100 mph belt.


Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:43 pm
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Post Re: What happens when the Rolling Roads get to the rollers?
I think you might be confusing Heinlein's rolling roads with Asimov's stripways (or something like that) from the R. Daneel Olivaw novels. I don't recall the details of how many different speed roads there were in the Heinlein scenario, but it was no more than three or four. Perhaps he underestimated the issues of stepping onto a road 20 mph faster or slower than the current one.

The Asimov people-carriers had some larger number of belts and he went into some detail about the skills involved in moving from one to the other.

The RDO novels were late 1950s, or almost 20 years after the Heinlein short. Who else used moving strips or slidewalks or whatever in that time frame? Isn't the original idea HGW's?

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:53 pm
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