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ORBITSVILLE (original 1975; edition 1991)

by Bob Shaw

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392427,329 (3.52)4
Authors:Bob Shaw
Info:ORBIT (1991), Edition: First Thus, Paperback, 220 pages
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Orbitsville by Bob Shaw (1975)



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A starship captain finds himself in big trouble with a maniacal dictator on Earth, and so flees with his wife and child to what he assumes is the vast emptiness of space. But he and his crew find something - a really, really big something.
The story was interesting enough, but as with most full-on sci-fi, I lost interest in the science-y details of spaceflight and such. ( )
  electrascaife | Jun 18, 2017 |

It's rather of its time, which is to say that the evil ruler is all the more evil because she is a woman, and the hero's wife doesn't get to do much more than be his wife (he bravely fends off sexual advances from one of his own crew in a moment of crisis). In fairness, Shaw was good at portraying troubled marriages (always from the male partner's point of view) in his fiction, and this is another case in point. Orbitsville itself is a Dyson sphere, totally enclosing a star at earth-orbit distance, which our hero stumbles upon after fleeing the evil ruler; I felt a bit short-changed in that Shaw concentrates on the human politics of his story and devotes much less time to describing it than Niven does Ringworld or Clarke does Rama, and we end up in the climactic section of the book just doing a long aircraft trip across relatively featureless landscape. Perhaps the sequel has more stuff that I would like in it. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Jul 14, 2014 |
I'm not sure why but I couldn't seem to put this one down. 240 pages in 12 days is a lot for me (and I read a graphic novel during that time too). It started off fast and ended the same way but the middle 80% wasn't action packed - just interesting. The book is subtle. Mr. Shaw doesn't go gonzo with the aliens and first contact stuff - it's all about (at least on the outside) a man with a mission. At a philosophical level it's more about the Dyson sphere thingy - which worked for me this time (I didn't understand it in Ringworld). It's about proportions that are almost impossible for the human mind to comprehend and how those proportions change the human (and alien) condition.

This is very "classic" sci-fi. Not as dated as some of the older stuff I've read but reading it reminded me of first reading the Foundation trilogy. The cigarette ads in my copy also added to the ambiance. ( )
  ragwaine | Mar 4, 2012 |
Shaw sets up a nice conflict which forces the protagonist to go on a do-or-die exploration mission, which of course results in the discovery named in the book title. The artefact is astrophysically plausible and the explanations are well done. The guy's troubles are not over though, and the baddie's vengeance plays itself out in a most satisfying way until the final (happy) ending. Not a demanding book but an enjoyable read, in the space opera/action SF genre. ( )
  Justin_Credible | Mar 28, 2007 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bob Shawprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hay, ColinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Järvinen, Jyri-PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scaife, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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1st edition paperback, vg+

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