Friday, January 19, 2018

Description of a Windroller

Make friends fast.

—Handbook For The Shipwrecked

The wind-roller was the preferred method of travel on the Planet Xurdimur.

"The wind-roller itself was about two hundred feet long. Its beam was about thirty-four feet. The hull was boat-shaped, and the narrow keel rested on fourteen axles. Twenty-eight enormous solid rubber-tired wheels turned at the ends of these axles. Thick ropes of the tough rubber-like substance were tied to the ends of the axles and to the tops of the hull itself. These were to hold the body steady and keep it from going over when the 'roller reeled under too strong a side wind and also to provide some resiliency when the 'roller was making a turn. Being aboard at such times was almost like being on a water-sailing ship. As the front pair of wheels—the steering wheels—turned and the longitudinal axis of the craft slowly changed direction, the body of the vessel, thrust by the shifting impact of the winds, also tilted. Not too far, never as far as a boat in similar case, but enough to give one an uneasy feeling. The cables on the opposing side would stretch to a degree and then would stop the side-wise motion of the keel and there would be a slight and slow roll to the other direction. Then a shorter and slower motion back again. It was enough to make a novice green. 'Roller sickness wasn't uncommon at the beginning of a voyage or during a violent windstorm. Like its aqueous counterpart, it affected the sufferer so that he could only hang over the rail and wish he would die."

The Green Odyssey, Philip José Farmer

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