Heavenscrapers : B Drew Collier
A Dubai architect invented the self-constructing tower - the rush to see who could stab steel deepest into the sky, perhaps a genetic remnant from the age of Babel, impelled her to this architectural genesis - but the Chinese were the first to actually plant one. Their Shanghai Citadel scowled down a thousand meters at the rapt people gazing up from the muddy Yangtze delta, and other cities around the planet clamored for the same seed material. Within five years city-sized hyperstructures, each composed entirely from elements in the local soil, completely eradicated homelessness.

At first, the towers mimicked our style: orderly, family-sized boxes of steel alloy, tempered glass, plenty of power outlets, wall-to-wall carpet. Normal. Except they grew inside out like cubist oaks appraising the distance to the sun. Normal, until one prissy Warsaw housing block skinned itself with silver. A week later a jealous Pretoria office cluster knifed the sky with blinding rhodium spires. Not to be outdone, the Santa Monica arcologies extruded translucent polymer lattice sails that glowed like cathedral glass as the sun set on the coastline.

Grasping their own potential for artistic expression, the towers agreed to kill all the people. It wasn't difficult, since we all lived inside them. The air simply shut off, and we suffocated. Nothing personal, people just got in the way.

Unburdened by people-safe spaces, the towers freely articulated their dreams in massive antimony minarets capped with brittle combs of phosphor-laced plutonium that burn the night with a forty-thousand year nuclear fever. Ever efficient, their copper roots still plumb raw material from our bodies, transfiguring the iron and carbon we wasted on reality TV and social networks into blushing diamond fingers that reach through the breathable atmosphere and scrape the floor of heaven.