I'm looking for a certain SF novel

A relative told me about a novel which he had read and which he believes to have been written by Robert Heinlein, but he is not sure; he does not remember the title either. It is about a planet whose population lives on the inner side of a hollow hemisphere; one day, the people decide to send a spaceship into the orbit, which leads to a disaster since the rocket crashes into the opposite side of the hemisphere. I looked on several Heinlein Websites for a novel with this contents, but I didn’t find anything. I would be very grateful if someone could tell me more about title or author of the book. Thanks!

Sounds very similar to certain elements in Philip Jose Farmer’s Maker of Universe series (Behind the Walls of Terra, etc).

In this case, the world wasn’t hollow: the entire universe was built by a race of “aliens” (sorta) as a sort of recreation. The extent of our world was just slightly larger than the orbit of pluto. The stars/etc are clever holographic projections on a large scale.

At one point in the novel, one of the characters asks what would happen if we were to send a rocket expedition out beyond Pluto and he was told it would crash.

Again, this might not be it, because it certainly sounds like a close match.

Aspects of it sound like Orbitsville by Bob Shaw. But there are enough differences to make me think that this is not it.

I believe you are talking about Simulicron 3 by Danile Galouye. My father has reccomended the same book to me. It sounds like what you mean. I think that is the correct author, he’s credited in the beginning of the Movie the 13th Floor; the movie is supposedly based on that book.

Ugh. Just re-read my last post. When I will I ever learn to self-edit…? Sheesh. Replace last “because” with “but.”

Sorry, misread the OP, I think I am wrong with my last post, its not what I thought originally. Sorry for the misunderstanding :frowning: I have not heard of the book you’re describing.

I don’t believe that’s Heinlein. The closest thing to it that I can recall is his “Universe,” but that’s not what you’re describing.

If your friend is sure it’s Heinlein, look for “Universe.” If he’s more sure of the plot, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

This is definitely NOt anything by Heinlein. It’s not Orbitsville (or its sequel) either – that’s about a Dyson sphere. It doesn’t sound like Farmer’s stuff either. It might be the Galouye novel mentioned – haven’t read any of his work. It sounds like nothing I’ve read.

The closest thing I can think of is a short story by Orson Scot Card called “The Crystal Spheres” (I think).

In that story, all planetary systems are enclosed in invisible spheres. The first interstellar ship from Earth smashes into the one around our system. The ship is destroyed, but the sphere is broken so that other ships can get out. But they find that they can’t get into any other spheres around other stars until… well that’d be a spoiler.

Sounds like your relative might have conflated some other book with the Heinlein story “Universe” which is one of those “interstellar voyagers are living in a spaceship but have reverted to savagery and no longer realize it’s not the whole universe” books. Ellison had a TV series The Starlost with more or less the same premise.

“The Crystal Spheres” was by David Brin.

Part of Larry Niven’s Ringworld series?

Not any Niven novel I know.


I remember a book like this. When they looked up at the stars, it turned out that they were fires in a city on the ‘opposite side’ of the world. When the ship crashes, they meet some familiar people who had decided to travel as far as they could.

I think it did have ‘Ring’ in the title, though… Um… I think.

Well I’m no help.