Star Scraper

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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 bottom of the page.

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 Star Scraper, 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.

Examples of Star Scraper include:

Anime and Manga

  • Eureka Seven: Most people live near or in some very, very tall tower-cities.

Comic Books


  • Coruscant in Star Wars is filled with these buildings. "Watch your step, or you'll be falling for hours."[1]
  • 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.
  • The Towering Inferno.
  • The Clamp office building in Gremlins 2: The Batch.
  • 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.


  • 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.
    • They also double as space elevators, and link up to a single ring structure that's at geostationary orbit that completely circles the world to form a massive spaceport.
  • 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 Nights 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.

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.
    • Fang, the fortress of Space Wolves. It is so high, spaceships dock to its peak.
  • Sharn, the City of Towers in Eberron. It's towers average at around 2 km 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.
  • One of the arenas in Unreal Tournament, DM-Morpheus.[2] 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.
  • 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 sea of plasma enveloping the Earth.
  • 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.

Web Comics

  • 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.

Western Animation

  • Phineas and Ferb: one of the many things they built and lost in a single day is a star scraper that touched the earth's moon.

Real Life

  1. which is a minor case of Did Not Do the Research: even if you fall from the surface and to the core of the earth, it would take no less than 42 minutes. Then again, if you consider the fact that gravity decreases (contrary to popular belief) as you fall down...
  2. inspired by the Jump Program scene from The Matrix, hence the name