The Web Between The Worlds
Copyright 1979 by
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.