Read it in 60's or 70's. Space battle. Ship escapes by running through a hole into a Dyson Sphere. Crashes on the inside a very long way from the hole. Crew use material from their ship to build propeller aircraft and fly back to the hole, journey takes years. Cross territory occupied by numerous races and civilisations. Multiple different climates. They finally reach the hole. The sphere has holes with defenses that allow entry but stop anyone trying to leave. They do somehow figure out a way to escape.

At the end I think they discovered that the sphere had been built by a super advanced race as a kind of honey trap. Other developing species were tempted into the sphere by the easy living and virtually unlimited free land, so they never developed to a level where they could challenge the sphere builders.

One phrase stuck in my mind, "the green and infinite acres of ?????". May have been the last sentence of the story. I would love to read it again.

1 Answer 1


Bob Shaw's Orbitsville, published 1975.

Book cover

From the inside cover according to a few sites (emphasis mine):

From the inside cover, “Against all the regulations concerning the safety of Starflight commanders, Captain Vance Garamond put himself at the head of a small expedition attempting the enter the unknown area inside the huge sphere. When they touched down on the surface beside the aperture, he was the first out. He slid his hand over the edge of the opening and found that its hard rim was only a few centimeters thick. There was a spongy resistance to the passage of his hand, which told of a force field spanning the entire aperture like a diaphragm, then his gloved fingers gripped something that felt like grass. He pulled himself through to the inside of the sphere and stood up. And there — on the edge of a circular lake of stars, suited and armored to withstand the lethal vacuum of space — Garamond had his first look at the green and infinite meadows of Orbitsville.”

The crash part shows up in this review:

Before long the vengeful Lindstrom catches up, and a spectacularly pyrotechnic escape leaves Garamond's spaceship wrecked 15 million kilometres away from the human beachhead on Orbitsville. That's a tiny fraction of the 300 million kilometre diameter: the sphere's hugeness is emphasised as our hero's team doggedly builds a fleet of planes to be flown in shifts back to base, a journey that'll take three full years. A final nerve-tingling clash gives way to revelations--jolting but in retrospect inevitable--of Orbitsville's hidden purpose. One of the best novels by this popular British auhtor.

Shaw wrote two sequels, Orbitsville Departure (ISBN 0-671-69831-1), published in 1983, and Orbitsville Judgement, published in 1990.

Search terms of "green and infinite" dyson sphere

  • Doesn't sound like a crash landing a long way from the hole.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:37
  • @DCShannon: Added more details from a review.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:40
  • 2
    That's the story I was thinking of. Apparently my memory is a little flaky on the details, I'm getting on a bit and I read this a long time ago. Thanks for the help. Now I need to find a copy and reread it. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:43
  • Ah, that makes it more clear. +1
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:46

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