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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Web Between The Worlds

Copyright 1979 by Charles Sheffield

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this in 1982 and most recently on the 7th October 2012

Rob Merlin receives an astounding commission from the eccentric and profoundly rich Darius Regulo: to build a skyhook from Earth to Space. Rob survives through various nefarious subplots, to do exactly that.

However, the goblin sub-story seemed to be just thrown in to add thrills - and a bit of James Bond action - to a plot that didn't need them. Getting that skyhook up and running was good enough for me,

Mind you I still disappointed by the title as it implied the later project alluded to the novel: the skyhooks between other worlds in our solar system. Have to admit I'm currently a bit of a fan of deploying a lunar skyhook followed by a Martian one, since I assume they would be much easier and less risky than doing the same on Earth. I loved Sheffield's convincing description of the process of the magnificent project.

One wouldn't compare this with Arthur C Clarke's "Fountains of Paradise". Well, no, actually. One would. Both came out in 1979, both used a Spider, and the chief engineers were Sheffield's Merlin and Clarke's Morgan. There's an interesting letter from Arthur C Clarke to the "Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America" in which he explains these as coincidences - the time had come for novels about the orbital tower, the skyhook, and many people would be writing about them.

Loaded on the 10th October 2013.
Cover of The Web Between The Worlds