Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Orbitsville

Continuing through my survey of 1970s era Science Fiction, I've just finished Bob Shaw's 1975 novel Orbitsville, which I found to be both intriguing and a little alarming (but in a really good way).

The novel focus on ship captain Vance Garamond, who while waiting to meet the CEO of the most powerful company on Earth makes a rather (sorry for the mild forty-year-old spoiler of the events of the first chapter) terrible mistake and through a moment of negligence allows the CEOs only child to die in an accident.

Obviously the next segment of the book follows his rapid escape from Earth and his attempt to hide from the most powerful person in the world, which leads to Orbitsville itself, a massive Dyson sphere (wherein a hospitable atmosphere and environment exist across the inside of a globe) but the sphere itself is so massive it is almost beyond comprehension.

For classic SF readers, the book is clearly going to draw comparisons with Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970), but although there are a number of similarities between the two - world exploration, action and adventure, Orbitsville plays down the aliens aspect and focuses much more on the alien nature of the world itself.  

The book was a quick read, quite fascinating, and ended with a turn of events I was definitely not expecting.  Well worth a read.

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