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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 1975 by Bob Shaw

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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 March 1976 and most recently on the 15th August 2006

Vance Garamond was a respected flitterwing captain, the captain of a solar sail spacecraft and a satisfied employee of Starflight, the biggest company in the Solar System. However, events have taken something of an unwelcome turn. Now he's on the run from the murderous President of Starflight and he's taking his ship and crew on a mad dash through interstellar space.

While on the run Garamond discovers an astonishing, unexpected treasure: an almost infinite resource for Humankind's future. He's discovered a Dyson sphere, something known previously only in the imagination.

This came out about five years after "Ringworld" and it is an interesting contrast: a much bigger idea in a much smaller book. Doesn't waste words, our Bob. Peter Hamilton should take a lesson from him. At a mere 186 pages Shaw covers the discovery and good part of the exploration of a world that provides the 5 billion times the living area of Earth. Compare this to Peter Hamilton's "Fallen Dragon".

Now you might think I'm a little obsessed with size here. Well frankly let me tell you I am and rightly so. As we all know, size does matter but only (heh, heh) that too big is just no good at all. Bob Shaw knows this and that's what makes this such a clever and memorable plot.

Bob Shaw is extremely good at writing driven characters, characters that aren't likeable but to whom one may be sympathetic and Garamond is certainly one of these. Like Orbitsville itself, you won't forget him.

Loaded on the 16th December 2006.
Cover of Orbitsville
Cover art by Colin Hay