Created By: JusticeMan on July 7, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on October 27, 2015

Floating Future

A future were everything egregiously floats, even when it makes little sense or is unnecessary to do so.

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Trope
Writing a future can be hard: What is a simple yet effective way to communicate that this is not the present? Realistically the architecture of any place on Earth isn't going to change notably for the next century or two, and there's also that problem of getting rid of landmarks. Sure, Big Ben is kinda old and doesn't quite fit with the sleek futuristic look but London just isn't London without it. The solution? Make the thing float! Why does Big Ben need to float? How do people get inside a building if it's 10 feet above the ground? We'll get back to you on that.

Perhaps borne from the idea of Flying Cars, a Floating Future is a place where everything (cars, trains, anchors) floats.


Examples

Film

Video Games
  • The Sims 3 has things that float to give it a futuristic vibe. Like a bed.

Western Animation

Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • July 7, 2011
    JusticeMan
    "we spent a lot of time asking ourselves what the world of our heroes would be like 40 years in the future. What kind of new toys and gadgets might there be, keeping in mind that the world of Zee and Ro should still be familiar, not too way out there. Most of the time we needed futuristic analogs of things we have today. So they have cars — but they levitate. They have trolleys — but they levitate. They have comic books — but they're animated on the page. They have billiard balls — but they levitate"
  • July 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    It's The Jetsons, not the Jet Sons.
  • July 7, 2011
    AFP
  • July 8, 2011
    NetMonster
    Do the mountains in Avatar count? It's another planet, sure, but it's set in the future.
  • July 8, 2011
    LeeM
    ^ I think this is only for things that float using technology instead of having legs or wheels. The Avatar example is handwaved as a side effect of unobtainium's superconductive magnetism, or something. Besides, the mountains have been floating for billions of years, so they're not just in the future.
  • July 8, 2011
    Aielyn
    Needs A Better Description.

    Anyway, can I suggest something a little more colourful than Floating Future? Since the trope is about cases where things float even when unnecessary for them to do so, Gratuitous Hovering Future, or something like that.
  • July 8, 2011
    thewriter
  • September 8, 2011
    JusticeMan
    Hmm, is that name good enough?
  • September 9, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Everything Floats In The Future? I like the concept, I've seen it in practice and I've seen it played with. Needs a better description first though.
  • October 22, 2011
    JusticeMan
    Hmm... anyone want to buff?
  • October 22, 2011
    Utgardloki
    I vote for the name Everything Floats In The Future. I would also vote for this including examples of things that have no logical reason to float, but could also include things that have a reason to float.

    An example of an Enforced variant of this trope would be the Cloud City of Bespin. It is justified because Bespin is a gas giant and thus a city would need to float to be viable. But it is also Enforced because the action could just as easily have been done on a regular, groundbound community -- it just would not have been as cool.

    I think it can also be justified if advanced technology makes it easy to make floating objects, so manufacturers make pretty much everything to float.

    Examples:

    The hoverboard in Back to the Future. Also the Train at the end of Back to the Future III, although that is justified by the desire to go where there are no train tracks.

    The Floating City of Bespin and the Sky City of the Hawkmen would be examples where the trope is both enforced and justified.

    Perhaps Luke Skywalker's landspeeder would also count. Vehicles in the Star Wars universe get by perfectly well with wheels, tracks, and/or legs, but Luke's car floats. Why? Why not? It looks cool.
  • October 22, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    I thought it was semi-canon (Expanded Universe) that Bespin does have a solid ground.

  • October 22, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Everything Floats In The Future is good, as far as being descriptive, but a bit boring. I kinda like Gratuitous Hovering Future. Overall, I just think "hover" is a better word choice than "float", since a lot of sci-fi pop culture already uses that e.g. "hoverboard" (which would be an example of this trope).

    @Lumpenprole - I've never heard that before...granted I haven't read every book in the Star Wars EU, but AFAIK Bespin is just a normal Gas Giant (with no solid ground).
  • October 22, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Hell, does it even have be specifically be set in the future? I can imagine that this would still be the same trope if, in modern times, you had someone go into an alien ship and they had everything floating around...maybe just drop the "future" and call it Gratuitous Hovering?
  • October 22, 2011
    GreenMachine
    Putt Putt Travels Through Time: In the future, everything hovers.

    Actually, that might be a funny laconic...a riff on Minority Report's tagline...
  • October 22, 2011
    DaibhidC
    Parodied in one of Robert Rankin's Armageddon novels (The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon III: The Remake, I think) where the barstools at the Tomorrowman Tavern are described as barstool seats hovering in place, and this is called "dead futuristic". Later, Rex gets a good look at them, and confirms that they're actually clamped to the bar.
  • October 22, 2011
    fulltimeD
    Deconstructed in Kurt Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan": Malachi Constant's office has floating furniture, but it's explicitly mentioned as being extremely impractical, even dangerous.
  • October 24, 2011
    hevendor717
  • October 25, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    • Dune, paticularly the 1984 film version, with such things as the baron's floating clothes and the floating lamp when he Atredes first arrive on Arrakis.
    • amiwakawaiidesu's NSFW Crystal War 'verse features shoes that suspend the wearer about 1 - 2 inches (2 - 5 cm) in midair so their feet never touch the ground. As seen here.
  • October 25, 2011
    bulmabriefs144
    Romeo X Juliet we have a floating city, flying horses, etc. (Until it all comes crashing down)
  • October 25, 2011
    Generality
    In Futurama not literally everything floats, but a lot of things unnecessarily do. As well, there are other extraneities such as a teacup that electronically reassembles itself when dropped.
  • October 25, 2011
    GreenMachine
    You know, technically The Jetsons took place 11 years ago. :P

    Yeah, I know, in context it was the future... :)
  • December 1, 2011
    JusticeMan
    In Sci Fi Everything Hovers?

    Do we have a precedent trope with a a simialar naming convention?
  • December 1, 2011
    MiinU
    ^that one's pretty good! Seconding In Sci Fi Everything Hovers.

    Film

    • The cloud city of Bespin, in the original Star Wars trilogy, is true to it's name: a futuristic city which hovers high above the clouds.

    Video games

    • Twilight Princess's City in the Sky would also count, being that it's said to have been built by the Occucu, centuries ago, yet still persists in their day and age. While seemingly archaic in design, using a system of propellers to stay afloat, the city itself is clearly advanced by Hyrule's standards.
      • The Palace of Twilight is a straighter example, as it not only floats, it appears to be almost alien in design and architecture. The background and the accompanying music adds to the ambience, creating an impression that can only be described as otherworldly.
  • December 1, 2011
    hevendor717
    I will reiterate that "futuristic" could be a good word to put in the trope name. Because it's about the style being like our supposed future, rather than actually taking place in one.
  • December 3, 2011
    Andygal
  • December 4, 2011
    Omeganian
    Knights Of The Old Republic and other sources about that time have plenty of floating monuments.
  • December 4, 2011
    Statalyzer
    Everything Floats In The Future is good, as is Gratitious Floating Objects. It isn't just the future as it can happen in the past (Star Wars) OR fantasy (Avatar). Yes Avatar takes place in the future but the planet has supposed had gratuitous floating mountains forever, they don't exist to show futuristicness but unusual nature phenomena.
  • December 4, 2011
    Statalyzer
    Everything Floats In The Future is good, as is Gratitious Floating Objects. It isn't just the future as it can happen in the past (Star Wars) OR fantasy (Avatar). Yes Avatar takes place in the future but the planet has supposed had gratuitous floating mountains forever, they don't exist to show futuristicness but unusual nature phenomena.
  • December 13, 2011
    JusticeMan
    So is this good to launch? I mean not now, but the concept flys? (No pun intended.)
  • December 13, 2011
    SquirrelGuy
    Regarding Bespin, the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back describes a single support pylon holding up Cloud City, rather than it floating. However, the pylon pictured seems so flimsy compared to the size of the city, it's almost implied that there's some sort of floating technology involved there. Still, the Star Wars universe has other gratuitous floating items, e.g., Luke Skywalker's landspeeder, Jabba's sail barge.
  • December 14, 2011
    aurora369
    ^And Bespin is a gas giant; what is supposed to be on the other end of the pylon?
  • December 14, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    ^ Bespin has a solid metal core. Although I'm not clear if the cloud city is really anchored to the core. It could be that the Cloud City is set to be in geo-synchronous rotation with the core. I don't think the stalk is holding up anything. I thought all it's doing is siphoning up the gas into the refineries. Because of the heavy atmosphere, the orbit will probably decay quite quickly, and you would need other measures to correct the orbit from time to time.
  • December 14, 2011
    Generality
    See also Floating Continent, which tend to crop up in such futures (usually in the form of a floating city).
  • January 8, 2015
    Winterspring
    Was looking for a trope like this after watching some Futurama. Was this idea abandoned, or is there a page for this somewhere with an obscure name?
  • January 8, 2015
    SolipSchism
    I actually like Everything Floats In The Future, but that's just because I like Snowclones, and We Will Not Use An Index In The Future is just the right place for a trope like this.

    As for works taking place in the past, that's not really the point; if it's a futuristic setitng, it's the spirit of the trope.

    And I just noticed this is three years old.

    Nope, no idea. I imagine it would be on the index I linked above, but I just combed through and didn't find anything like it.
  • January 8, 2015
    DAN004
  • October 24, 2015
    BreadBull
    The Simpsons, the Fairly Odd Parents, the Sims 3, there are probably also plenty of other media that use this.
  • October 24, 2015
    DAN004
    Floating Future is okay I guess? Otherwise Everything Floats In The Future should work.
  • October 24, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    Floating Future is okay, but I have to say I dig Everything Floats In The Future.

    • In Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyoukan the setting is a futuristic magitech floating city. All cities in this setting float to get away from insects that infest the world and which the protagonists fight with magic. The floating doesn't seem to have much point though, considering it appears a significant portion of these insects can fly.
  • October 25, 2015
    eowynjedi
    Video games:

    • Final Fantasy XIII includes this as part of the shiny, hi-tech setting of Cocoon. Anything from treasure chests to military units to advertising billboards are suspended off of the ground using anti-gravity technology.

    Question: would this apply to a hi-tech Ancients situation? And/or if the hovering is used for a plot point, or does it have to be just gratuitous setting flavor?
  • October 25, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ the latter, it seems. Like all of "in the future" tropes.
  • October 26, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^ The hovering can have a plot justification but just as likely it probably won't. Like you said, gratuitous setting flavor.

    As for the ancients...I think that is a different trope we might not have, such as "Hi Tech History", the setting version of Lost Technology, when the historical version of the setting has futuristic tropes.
  • October 26, 2015
    hamza678
    Edit:

    • BlueLinked all the show titles
    • Created Categories.
  • October 27, 2015
    Arivne
    • Corrected spelling (were everything -> where).
    • De-capitalized (Anchors, Episodes).
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Italicized work names. Lots of work names.

    Fairly Odd Parents violates How To Write An Example - Remember That This Is A Wiki.

    The Zeta Project is a Zero Context Example and needs more specific information to explain how it's this trope.

  • October 27, 2015
    robinjohnson
    I do not think "egregiously" means what you think it means.
  • October 27, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ nobody really knows what it means, actually.
  • October 27, 2015
    robinjohnson
    It means outstanding or notable, with heavy negative connotations (to the extent that you could argue that it now means "outstandingly bad".) Strictly it should be used with another word that contains the 'bad' bit, like "an egregious problem". "Egregiously floats" doesn't make much sense, and everything can't be egregious, because they can't all be standing out against each other! "A future where everything floats" makes sense fine without it.

    Pedantry aside - nice trope. Often "things floating" is just used as shorthand for "It's the future" in Cutaway Gags.
  • October 27, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    Actually I think Egregious is a Running Gag on This Very Wiki.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=a6ex32gkchtmq99om9hpfwsk