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The Web Between The Worlds Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671319736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671319731
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,195,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Harrison on February 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that burning vast quantities of combustible fuel to move an object from here out into orbit, let alone out into the solar system, is phenomenally expensive and dangerous. Science Fiction authors have, for decades, tried to come up with all manner of workarounds, from gravitation drives to Star Trek style transporters.
One proposal that, until the late seventies, didn't attract a lot of attention was the idea of a cable stretching from the Earth into space, held in place by some form of geosynchronous structure. It's probably the least sexy technology available, nothing more than a really, really, strong, long, cable with objects climbing up and down it using whatever means fit the designer's imagination.
Two science fiction authors, Arthur C. Clarke and Charles Sheffield, decided to raise the idea of such a cable at roughly the same time (Clarke's book, The Fountains of Paradise, was published two weeks before Sheffield's), and at once the obvious simplicity and advantages of the idea captured the public imagination. Well, sort of, currently there is no known material strong enough to withstand the tension a useful cable would carry, but we're probably not far off.
This book is a treat. As well as the story itself, mostly a thriller centered around an engineer (who builds the cable, 'natch), a billionaire solar system miner, and a dubious amoral biologist, the book comes with a contribution from Arthur C Clarke on the history of the how the idea was brought to press, and a long appendix detailing the physics involved in building a "beanstalk" (Sheffield's name for the thing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "phyed-rautha" on August 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of all - don't mistake this book with "Between the strokes of night" which deals with life-prolongation by altering the body's metabolic speed and time sense. Now, the reason everybody are so dissapointed, I believe, is that the book lacks Sheffield's usual giant scope, and therefore highly advenced thechnolegy, with the setting in the far future. (allthough thet description is'nt compatiblle with the wonderfull "Proteus" series). But the plot did waver a bit. the climax was not all that. I do think though that all the charecters were excellent, and developed through the book. Not a bad story, it's only the higher expectations of the readers from sheffield.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LT Sharpe on October 1, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Some good info on building a space elevator complete with mad industrialist with more money than god. There are misc other subplots though which were completely unecessary and uninteresting. Worth reading at a used price but not full retail.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on April 10, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Rob Merlyn is one of the best engineers who has lived - mostly because he had the good luck not to die yet. So he is asked to help make a space elevator. This is classical WE Have To Get Into Space kind of novels that ruled supreme in the 60's and 70's. Add a few interesting settings, add a giant squid, some high tech science, and you have what is a very interesting universe. But is it a good story? Well, yeah, it is exciting and fun to read, which is the norm from such a writer of Charles Sheffield's skill and ability. And much of the science makes it a somewhat HARD science fiction story. But there seem to be long periods where nobody does anything but talk which CAN slow the plot down. Worth a read but I doubt you will reread it again and again, maybe once every few years? Still, worth a first read, so get it new or used. If you found the topic interesting may I suggest Liftport - The Space Elevator: Opening Space to Everyone
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M-I-K-E 2theD on December 28, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Combining a pedestrian plot with an endless stream of science, Sheffield leaves lots of open room for character development but obviously prefers to keep it simple... and by `simple' I mean throwing in phrases like Maclaurin and Jacobi ellipsoids, heuristic elements to optimized algorithms, nonlinear elasticity and thermal diffusion. If you have any inkling to what Sheffield is talking about, perhaps you might enjoy the instruction manual more than me but it read just like that as there was little emotion, personal development or greater `greatness.'

Beginning with the unbelievable contraption of the Spider ( which is made to expel 200km of silicon cable two meters wide in one day), some of the future science borders on ridiculous for the 2070. There's also a genetically modified Mole which consumes and mines coal, which is then further modified to work in vacuum and mine other materials. With personal earth-to-orbit craft a commercial norm and the transfer of asteroids from outer-Mars orbit a lucrative business, Sheffield's vision of the future is very optimistic but also very tedious to read.

It's all fine and dandy to base a novel around the construction of a space elevator, or a Beanstalk as it's called in the book, but the plot keeps returning to the conversation between the engineer Merlin (misspelled Merlyn on the rear cover!) and this financer Regulo about the nitty-gritty specifics about the Beanstalk. The novel is merely a steady unfolding of the schematics for the elevator between the two characters, perhaps a fantasy which Sheffield felt he just had to put forth in a novel.

Even with all the geeky science and unfathomable scenes of what all the contraptions must look like, there is a good amount of awe involved.
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