Megastructures

There’s nothing like striking Wikipedia gold. Megastructures:

Topopolis:

A topopolis is a tube-like space habitat, rotating to produce gravity on the inner surface, which is extended into a loop around local star. Topopoli can be looped several times around the local star, in a geometric figure known as a torus knot.

View picture of a topopolis

Dyson shell:

The variant of the Dyson sphere most often depicted in fiction is the “Dyson shell”: a uniform solid shell of matter around the star. Such a structure would completely conceal the emissions of the central star, and would intercept 100% of the star’s energy output. Such a structure would also provide an immense surface which many envision being used for habitation, if the surface could be made habitable.

7 thoughts on “Megastructures”

  1. And of course two books spring to mind, both of which I am reading (or listening to) at the moment. Ringworld and Pandora’s Star. I’m so-so on Ringworld, but Pandora’s Star is AWESOME (though it takes a dew hundred pages to get going, once it does it is out of the world).

  2. Joen says:

    It’s funny you should mention Pandora’s Star, because I was pondering a purchase along with some other SF books I needed to stock up on (apparently “Ender’s Game” wasn’t a trilogy, “Children of the Mind” is book 4). I [have been (ed.)] recommended both Peter F. Hamilton, and Pandora’s Star in particular[, before]… the only reason I’ve held off was that it’s brick thick, something that in my experience rarely means good.

    PS is about a Dyson shell right?

    I read both Ringworld and the first sequel, and like you said, so-so. But for the mere reason of Niven exploring the superstructure that is the ringworld, it’s still one of my favourites. There’s just something about the ring-concept that’s incredible to wrap your mind around.

    On that topic may I recommend the Rama saga? It’s most excellent, and the megastructure in question is a huge rotating cylinder-shaped interstellar spacecraft. This is among my absolute favourite pieces of SF, if not the favourite.

  3. Yes, it is a brick! I’m about 700 pages into it, and I must say it just keeps getting better, though there is the odd chapter which is bleh.

    I like Ringworld for the same reason, but it just feels old and naive somehow. I think it’s in the way he explains and presents ‘alien’ things like aliens and the Ringworld. It gives off a ‘uhh, it’s diiiifereeent!’ sense. And this is one of the places where I really think Hamilton excels in Pandora’s Star. Things are presented naturally, without all the hu-ha, and it just works much better.

    And hey, funny you should recommend Rama. I’ve read the first one (loved it!) and I actually read a few chapters of the second when we were in Greece, but I surrendered it to Pandora instead 🙂

  4. Joen says:

    Yes, it is a brick! I?m about 700 pages into it, and I must say it just keeps getting better, though there is the odd chapter which is bleh.

    I’ll pick it up.

    Things are presented naturally, without all the hu-ha, and it just works much better.

    I see, makes sense. Another thing I disliked about Ringworld was the Puppeteers… Maybe they were just too odd.

    And hey, funny you should recommend Rama. I?ve read the first one (loved it!) and I actually read a few chapters of the second when we were in Greece, but I surrendered it to Pandora instead 🙂

    Book 2 was a bit harder to get into than book 1, I remember, but make no mistake — the book is great even so. I just believe book 2 is trying to expand the cast to a larger ensemble in order to make the book more personally appealing. Get past the first couple of chapters and you’ll love it.

    In other words, make sure you finish it!

    Oh, and if you happen to like it, you can borrow books 3 and 4 from me (Garden of Rama and Rama Revealed).

  5. Book 2 was a bit harder to get into than book 1, I remember, but make no mistake — the book is great even so. I just believe book 2 is trying to expand the cast to a larger ensemble in order to make the book more personally appealing. Get past the first couple of chapters and you?ll love it.

    The funny thing is though, one of the things I really liked about the first book was its no-nonsense approach. I like tight packages 🙂 (that’s not a pre-emptive dis of the second book)

    Oh, and if you happen to like it, you can borrow books 3 and 4 from me

    Thanks a lot! But I’m a book-hoarder. I need to buy books. If nothing else, because I’m so sloooow to get through them. I probably bought Rama 2 over two years ago 🙂

  6. Joen says:

    The funny thing is though, one of the things I really liked about the first book was its no-nonsense approach. I like tight packages 🙂 (that?s not a pre-emptive dis of the second book)

    I just thought that when I wrote the paragraph. Indeed that was also what immediately grabbed me about book 1. But read book 2 3 and 4 and you’ll learn why that story has more potential than just that, and hence why it’s good that it was “expanded”.

    Thanks a lot! But I?m a book-hoarder. I need to buy books. If nothing else, because I?m so sloooow to get through them. I probably bought Rama 2 over two years ago 🙂

    You and I both pal. If nothing else, take it as a recommendation to reading the book!

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