Star Scraper
aka: Sky Scraper

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"Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

A seriously tall building. So tall, in fact, that you probably won't read the caption under this page's image until you're near the literature section.

Common in Speculative Fiction, these buildings tower over their surroundings, or may be part of a city of similar buildings.

Indeed, it is not uncommon for them to be a single city in their own right.

To qualify as a Starscraper, a building must be clearly over 1,000 metres tall. The tallest building on Earth, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is 828 metres tall. For a city entirely made of those, see Skyscraper City.

Compare Space Elevator. When the Starscraper is the home of the villain, it becomes an Evil Tower of Ominousness.


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    Anime and Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • The Megacities of Judge Dredd have these.
  • The Gates Tower in Universal War One, which is named after Bill Gates. They built a spaceport on the top of this tower.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: ZigZag, the Evil Chancellor, has a tower that is ridiculously tall. The minaret with the three golden balls is supposed to be the tallest in the city, but seems fairly normal in comparison.note 
  • Octan Tower in The LEGO Movie has an "infinitieth floor" where the Kragle is kept. Also the building is so tall that there is a loading bay for cargo spaceships.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There are several planets covered in these in Star Wars, they're called Ecumenopolis.
    Atton Rand: Watch your step, or you'll be falling for hours.
  • Blade Runner.
  • The Fifth Element. Made startlingly clear when Leeloo escapes from the medical facility, goes outside, and looks down, down. Earth is starting to resemble Coruscant complete with oceans being drained. See how New York City looks when the starliner is leaving.
  • Parodied in Who Framed Roger Rabbit with the Toon Hotel in Toontown which according to the lobby elevator is "450 floors" even though it still looks like it exceeds that.
  • The setting of The Towering Inferno, which is set aflame by faulty wiring, is treated as one of these, even though it's only about half the necessary 1000+ meters. It's "the tallest building in the world" at 138 stories and 1673 feet (505 meters) tall, which, as of July 2014, would only put it at #5.
  • The Clamp office building in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. One scene shows a jet airliner passing by.
  • While its height is never mentioned, the model for Barad-dûr (Sauron's fortress) in The Lord of the Rings movies would be over a kilometer high if scaled up to full human scale. Arguably justified since it takes a literal divine being to keep it together and it promptly toppled over after he died. note .
  • While there's no definitive height given for the buildings in Judge Dredd, the 2012 reboot Dredd places the height of the mega-structures dotting the landscape as over a kilometer tall.
  • Ourus from Jupiter Ascending has buildings which extend into space.

    Light Novels 
  • Sword Art Online has Castle Aincrad. So big, it's essentially a world within a world (though it's actually the entire playable world of the fictional SAO game, it does get ported to Alfheim in the second arc). The largest floor is 10 kilometers in diameter, and each one is 100 meters high. Given that there are 100 floors, that makes it 10 kilometers high. But then, that's not counting the fact that it all floats in the sky. The anime also depicts a massive structure extending almost as far down, below the first floor.

  • The Mile High MacIlwaine from Nancy Farmer's The Eye, the Ear, and the Arm is... Well... Exactly What It Says on the Tin- a hotel one mile tall.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's 3001 contains four towers that reach from the earth to geostationary orbit. Which means they're about 36 thousand kilometers tall—nearly three times the diameter of the planet itself—and several kilometers in diameter. "Seriously tall" doesn't begin to describe it. The engineering problem of actually making something that big and not collapsing under their own weight was solved by constructing them largely from diamond, which was harvested from space (huge amounts of it was ejected from Jupiter in 2010).
    • They also double as space elevators, and link up to a single ring structure at geostationary orbit that completely circles the world to form a massive spaceport. It was unfinished even a thousand years in the future, and Frank Poole (who was recovered and revived at this point) privately doubted that it ever could be finished.
  • Not a skyscraper but a pyramid, the Last Redoubt/Great Redoubt from The Night Land easily qualifies - the main pyramid is seven miles tall, with a 3/4 mile observation tower on top of that.
  • The Tyrant's Dark Pyramid in Outernet is so high it reach the outer space.
  • While not quite an extremely tall building, the starscrapers in Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy are named such - as they are skyscrapers IN SPACE. Literally hanging off the outside edge of rotating space habitats.
  • Common in the Honor Harrington universe. Justified by the ubiquity of counter-grav technology.
  • The Cylinder from K. W. Jeter's Farewell Horizontal. A specific size isn't given, but most of humanity lives inside (or on) it, and most of the habitable area is well above the cloud layer.
  • The Tower of Babel in The Bible is said to be one of these.
  • Spearpoint, the last human city, and its counterpart on the other side of the world in Terminal World stretches from the ground all the way past the planet's atmosphere, tapering continuously. One character theorizes that they are a form of Space Elevator from before the fall of mankind and the creation of the Zones. They are hollow, and lead to a portal inside the planet for starships to use - hence why they extend out of the atmosphere.
  • Earthport in Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality of Mankind stories is a vast, wineglass-shaped tower of virtually indestructible material reaching 25 kilometers above the city of Meeya Meefla (Miami, Fla), with foundations reaching down to the magma. It was built to absorb the exhaust from huge nuclear-powered spaceships, but was soon rendered obsolete by new technology and so large parts of it stand empty. Ancient elevated roads climb to partway up the tower, but since they are not made of indestructible material they are now abandoned and dangerous.
  • The New Tower, built of solidified magic, temporarily rose a mile above Ankh-Morpork in Sourcery.
  • In Updraft, the bone towers which constitute the city all reach well above the clouds, and their lower levels are essentially abandoned; as far as their inhabitants are concerned, the above-cloud portions of the towers are the whole world.

    Live Action TV 
  • Several examples exist in Doctor Who. Satellite 5, for instance.
  • The Thompson Tower in Thunderbirds was one of these... until it came crashing down.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Hive Cities in Warhammer 40,000, most notably Hive Primus from Necromunda. In most cases, it's a necessity: the lower atmosphere is so polluted by millenia of reckless industrial production that only fresh air pumped in from the top of the hive allows them to survive.
    • The Fang, the fortress of the Space Wolves. It is so high, spaceships dock to its peak. A partial subversion however, as the entire complex is carved out from the inside of a naturally-occurring mountain(!). The air circulation currents running from bottom to top of the mountain are strong enough to be used as a transportation network between levels.
    • The spires of Commorragh would be this, if there were any stars in the Webway. Note the kilometers-long spaceship impaled on the spire on the far right.
  • Sharn, the City of Towers in Eberron. It's towers average at around 2km tall with some of the tallests having half to a full a kilometre more. Above them is a flying district of rich people called the Skyway. The city's three dimensional nature means most of the transit takes place with flying vehicules such as Soarsleds and Skybarges.
  • Arcologies in Shadowrun can be this.
  • The Cardinal's tower in Mutant Chronicles is so high that on the top floor, gravity is negligible.

    Video Games 
  • The Citadel in Half-Life 2, although that is an alien entity.
  • The Sunspire in Unreal, which shows up in the skyboxes of several maps before you actually reach it. There are seven or eight regularly spaced levels near the entrance, another two near the top, and even then there is a lift that rides at such high speeds the Doppler effect comes into play, which you spend ten solid seconds on before you reach the other end. And that is because it's only the top half of the spire that's built into. Its purpose? To send you even higher up to a Floating Continent.
  • One of the arenas in Unreal Tournament, DM-Morpheusnote . To quote the map description:
    "LMC knew they had found an excellent arena at the very top of a newly constructed Galaxyscraper SuperStructure. Thanks to the modern miracle of super tensile solids, these three buildings reach a staggering 12 miles high at their pinnacle. The thin atmosphere and reduced influence of Earth's gravity provide an interesting test of the tournament athlete's ability to adapt and conquer in extreme environments."
  • The map returns in Unreal Tournament 2004 (DM-Morpheus3) with a similar companion in 2003 and 2004 (DM-Plunge).
  • Whittlebone's (driver of Mr. Slamm) dream is to build one in Twisted Metal 2.
  • The Karma Temple in Digital Devil Saga.
  • The Tower of Salvation in Tales of Symphonia. It literally reaches "unto the heavens" and the player never sees its top from the outside.
  • The entire point of SimTower, where the player can build a fully functioning hotel/office complex that spreads over several square blocks, ten underground levels, and up to 500 stories.
  • The Tower of the Gods in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is so tall it can be seen from almost anywhere on the map.
    • You're tasked with turning Rupee Tower into one of these in Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland. As you throw more Rupees into the pool on top of it, it grows taller, allowing you to fly out to more distant locations. Eventually, it becomes so tall it goes right through the freaking moon... just in time for the final showdown with Uncle Rupee.
  • The eponymous Ar tonelico actually reaches out into space. All of humanity lives on it or one of two similar towers, since they're the only things tall enough to reach over the cloud Sea of Death enveloping the entirety of Ar Ciel.
  • The Tower of Babel in Illusion of Gaia. After climbing to the top, the player can look out at the background and see the curvature of the Earth. It also might double as a Space Elevator, since the allows the main character to simply fly into space to fight the Big Bad, without worrying about any pesky little details like "gravity".
  • The Cardinal Shaft in Hellsinker.
  • Tartarus in Persona 3 has 262 floors. You spend most of the game climbing it.
  • Spectre's tower in the first Ape Escape game is so tall it extends into space.
  • Halo:
    • Inverted (literally) in Halo 4: On the artificial "shield world" of Requiem, giant Forerunner structures hang down from the ceiling in the sky, dropping down to nearly ground level. It's actually rather striking, in a beautiful way, since because the "ceiling" is so high that it can't really be seennote , the overall effect, visually, is of unimaginably tall skyscrapers that are floating off the ground.
    • The Forerunner Saga novels mention that the Precursors built towers that essentially bridged planets. They were also completely indestructible excluding a Halo's main weapon.
  • The Tower of Babel in Xenogears, an ancient hollow irregular metallic cylinder stretching kilometers into the sky. It is actually the ancient hull of the kilometers-long spaceship that crashed on the planet in the Distant Prologue of the game, and how humanity first arrived on that world.
  • The geography of Dungeon Fighter Online includes two continents which may be part of complete worlds, one of which happens to be above the other. (The bottom's sky and clouds eventually turn into the top's ocean and abyssal fogbanks... somehow.) There's a tower connecting them, which players will find fairly early on. While the playable area of the tower isn't that big, it's implied that as players work their way through the multiple in-tower dungeons, they're unlocking access to rapid transit systems and skipping over most of what really is a monumental climb.
  • The Tower of Bab-il from Final Fantasy IV has its foot in the underworld (which is deep enough that airships have ample sailing space in it), crosses the surface through a huge hole and culminates high in the sky.
  • An expansion pack for SimCity has an addition called Mega-Towers which clearly fit this trope.
  • In the Pokémon games, the Hoenn region has the Sky Pillar. Its exact height is never clarified, but from the summit, the player can only see the blue sky and clouds drifting by below. One wonders how such a tall structure has managed to remain hidden for so long. The Pillar may or may not be of human origin; little of its history is ever given. The player may battle Rayquaza at the summit.
  • Steelport in Saints Row: The Third has some belonging to the Syndicate. No heights or floor counts are explicitly given. They tower as far over normal skyscrapers as the normal skyscrapers tower over lesser buildings, with the tallest or them, the gigantic red-and-black Syndicate Tower, measuring in at approximately 965 meters, about 130 meters taller than the Burj.
  • The plastic administrations building of Shachihata, in OFF, probably takes the cake. It's so tall that the elevator has you manually type in a five-digit floor number between 00000 and 99999. Yes, including the basement and secret floornote , the building has a whopping 100,000 floors. And that's not even counting the fact that at least one floor has several floors of its own. That's quite a lot of floors for a building that merely imports liquid plastic.
  • Dr. Wily's fortress in Mega Man 10.
  • The Neo Arcadia Tower in Mega Man Zero 3 used to be a space elevator connecting Earth and the Moon. It doesn't go quite that far any more, thanks to the Maverick Wars, but its top floor is still high enough for the curvature of the Earth to be visible.
  • The Tower of Akenash in Styx: Master of Shadows looks to be about the same height as today's tallest buildings, but it is significantly wider: the interior vertically houses an entire medieval city, and the horizontal distances are closer to that of a town than a building. Furthermore, the Tower still extends some distance underground.

    Web Comics 
  • Tower of God: The Tower probably puts most of the other examples to shame, considering it has more than 134 floors with each floor covering an area the size of North America, and the whole of the known universe exists within it.
  • In Homestuck, players of SBURB (or SGRUB) alter each others' houses with the game. Since one of the main goals is to reach increasingly high-up Gates in the sky, their houses eventually become these as a matter of necessity. Examples include John's house, Terezi's, and Jade's (a portion of Jade's is pictured to the right). Later panels show that these towers are nearly as tall as the entire Baby Planet's diameter in the late game. Even later on, they are tall enough to dwarf their planet.

    Web Original 
  • One What If? article discusses a billion-story tower here. The tower is so tall it extends ten times past the Moon's orbit.

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb: One of the many things the title characters built and lost in a single day comes from "Doof Side of the Moon", where they built a starscraper that touched the earth's moon.
  • Batman Beyond. The title sequence highlights the scale by initially showing Old Gotham, a city whose skyscrapers are on par with a modern-day metropolis, before Neo Gotham comes into focus and literally dwarfs the older buildings in comparison. In addition to public transportation which travels from building to building, there are also elevators that go up-and-down as essentially vertical trams.
  • Adventure Time: Finn builds one with a psychic arm in order to find his father and get revenge for him causing Finn to lose his right arm.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: In "They Call Him Mr. Ed", Eddy's decision to make a non-existent company centered entirely on going up leads Ed to spend the episode building an elevator out of junk until it eventually reaches the moon.
  • The Color Classics cartoon "Greedy Humpty Dumpty" has Humpty Dumpty as the king of Fairytaleland ordering the wall around his castle be built high enough to reach the sun, in the mistaken belief that it's made of gold. It does not go well for him when he actually gets there.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Impossibly Tall Tower, Sky Scraper