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The Web Between the Worlds

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  238 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews


Rob Merlin was the best engineer who had ever lived. That was why "The King of Space" had to have him for the most spectacular construction project ever -- even though Rob was a potentially fatal threat to his power...

Thus begins a breakthrough novel by the former President of the American Astronautical Society, about an idea whose

Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 1st 1979 by Ace Books
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Mar 29, 2015 Claudia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Not quite hard SF, but close, intertwined with an investigation subplot.

There are lots of technical details related to the construction of the "Beanstalk", which on occasion, kinda bore the reader. But the presence of some other unique characters saves the general impression, albeit they could have been developed more.

All in all, an interesting reading.
The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield tells the story of Rob Merlin (misspelled as Merlyn on the back of the book). Merlin is the best engineer who has ever lived. He has designed a machine, called the "Spider," that can extrude graphite cables which enable him to build incredibly long bridges of great strength. His work comes to the attention of "The King of Heaven"--a man by the name of Darius Regulo who nearly owns the space mining business. Regulo doesn't like rockets. He doesn't l ...more
Jun 21, 2017 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The plot thread that is most "science fiction" and explains how other threads coalesce is about the planning and building of a "space elevator" (a "beanstalk" vehicles can climb up to space rather than using rockets.) The other major thread is more-or-less a mystery which connects to the first thread via a lot of coincidences which may stretch some readers' acceptability. Between the two threads, there are many science fiction elements - space elevators and slingshots, asteroid mining, an astero ...more
Ce roman est assez étonnant, par le thème choisi. En effet, plutôt que de partir à la conquête de l’univers, ou au contact d’une race extra-terrestre, voire même d’autres objectifs plus spécieux, La toile entre les mondes raconte une histoire simple, et très actuelle : comment le premier ascenseur spatial sera construit. A titre anecdotique, cette édition est très intéressante car on y trouve une préface d’Arthur C Clarke qui explique en long, en large et en travers que ce roman n’est pas un pla ...more
LyndaIn Oregon
This hard-science fiction takes a look at a premise that's been around for decades -- the notion of a "sky hook" (here called "the beanstalk") that could lift cargo and passengers to gravity-free launch points in near-Earth orbits.

The technology is fascinating and explained well enough to almost be comprehensible to a non-scientist, but Sheffield falls down (you should excuse the pun) on the fictional side of the equation. He pads the tech effort with a mystery subplot and a sort-of-but-not-qui
Mar 20, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific story. The characters are vivid and complex, and the science (fiction) provides a perfect backdrop. The protagonist, Rob Merlin, is a engineer who's been asked to build a bridge between earth and space. Rob is also searching for information about what happened to the parents he never knew, and the two endeavors come together in a mysterious and dangerous way. In my opinion, this is the best kind of science fiction -- where the science sets the stage for an engrossing human sto ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Dianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this after attending a few of my kids' robotics meetings. The idea of a "space elevator" was intriguing but I couldn't wrap my brain around it. Seeing this book at a local thrift store, I couldn't pass it up. Sure, it is fantasy, but I get the idea now. Can't see that it would ever work, but I'm no space engineer. It wasn't the most exciting book I've ever read either, but the pace was upbeat and I didn't get bored. Glad I found it :)
Nov 23, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
with Charles Sheffield, as with Robert Forward, you get amazingly intricate, well-fleshed-out scientific speculation along with completely two-dimensional, boring characters. Definitely an acquired taste, not for everyone, but if just hearing a scientist/engineer go crazy with 'what if' is your bag, it can't really be beat... might start with the heritage series rather than this though, for sheffield
Feb 01, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, gem
This is one of my all time favorite books. It has everything a good science fiction book should: great characters that feel fully fleshed out, a tight and exciting plot, real science that is well explained and cleverly used, and a satisfying conclusion that isn't what you were expecting. I highly recommend this to everyone!
Dec 08, 2012 Jossalyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved this book; have read a number of times.
Aug 23, 2012 Wes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Lets build an elevator that rises into orbit! No more rockets for us! Yoo-hoo!
Good plot but to technical sometimes.
Ralph McEwen
Jun 12, 2010 Ralph McEwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ralph by: All readers of science fiction.
A wonderful adventure that embraces one of my favorite science fictions, the building of a bean-stalk.
Craig Russo
Sep 02, 2015 Craig Russo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Really good.
David Corbet
Mar 27, 2013 David Corbet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent Sheffield book. I always enjoy his style and inclusion of science in the story line.
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Charles A. Sheffield (June 25, 1935 – November 2, 2002), was an English-born mathematician, physicist and science fiction author. He had been a President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronomical Society.

His novel The Web Between the Worlds, featuring the construction of a space elevator, was published almost simultaneously with Arthur C. Clarke's novel
More about Charles Sheffield...

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