I read this in the 80s. There were hangar doors in a (fake?) ice floe underneath which the ship was built. And maybe something about "Miranda" (a star? and the ship's destination?), but I'm not sure. Does anybody remember the book?

I read it in German, but I don't know whether or not it was translated.

  • 1
    Hello and welcome to SFF! Can you take a look at this guide and edit in any more details you may remember. – TheLethalCarrot May 1 '18 at 13:24
  • Why was it in the ice? What changed to allow it to escape? Was it able to leave at any time? Was the spaceship sentient by itself, or piloted by sentient beings? Or was it automated? Was this on Earth or another planet? – FuzzyBoots May 1 '18 at 13:27
  • It was piloted by humans. Might have been on Earth, but I'm not sure. And I don't think it could leave before, but I don't remember why. And it was in the ice to be hidden. It might have been built there in secret. Sorry, I remember very little about it, just that I liked it a lot. – user99902 May 1 '18 at 13:31
  • My first impulse was The Ship Who Searched (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ship_Who_Searched), but that's a brainship story, so there's a handicapped person sealed into a column controlling the ship." Miranda" doesn't show up, but the main character is named Hypatia. – FuzzyBoots May 1 '18 at 13:37
  • No, definitely not that. The ship was not sentient. – user99902 May 1 '18 at 13:44

If the "ice" could be the icy slopes of remote mountains, then I'm feeling like it could be Orion Shall Rise (1983) by Poul Anderson.

Book cover

After nuclear weapons ravaged the Earth, only Skyholm, a huge solar-powered station floating above Europe, remains in possession of high technology. But as Skyholm is seized by a religious faction, a young noble escapes to the ground below and joins a group who conspire to use the power of the atom, outlawed for centuries, to regain the lost heritage of space flight.

The world is Earth, but distant enough post-nuclear that the socioeconomic landscape is a strange blend of future technology and feudalism. The planet is also heavily resource starved and unable to support the full restoration of pre-nuclear event technology.

The ship is an old, unused, Space Shuttle that one faction (nation) is trying to revive and launch to reclaim the stars denied by a couple other factions. One of which is able to use a solar-powered aerostat (balloon) to oversee Europe, and other areas at will. The other is Polynesian based and controls the seas while enforcing heavy "ecologically friendly" conditions on the rest of the nations.

The ship is in an ice-covered mountain reachable only in warm months and the cavern is equipped with a bay door for eventual launch.

While it's been a few seasons since I read it, I think Miranda is the either Skyholm-based lady-friend of the rebel, the current "leader" of Skyholm, or possibly just a ranking officer with sympathies for the rebel's cause.

More details on Wikipedia

In the book, Skyholm is an aerostat (solar-powered dirigible) residing in the stratosphere where its aristocrats rule over the western area of Europe. It is capable of maneuvering, theoretically over the globe though they only cover their own territory in practice. It has the ability to generate lightning (electrostatic discharge from battery storage), which was designed as part of it's maneuverability but has been turned into a weapon against the people (subjects) living on the ground. The lightning is also used for weather control, sometimes as a means of coercion. The "Captain" of Skyholm is a quasi-hereditary post, descended from the person who was the Captain of the ship at the time of the original nuclear event.

  • The method of propulsion is controversial, even today. Explode miniature atomic bombs inside a reflector and have that push the ship. – user85223 May 1 '18 at 14:10
  • I think that's the one :-) Maybe Miranda was actually Orion (or something completely different). I don't even remember Skyholm, but the rest sounds very right. Thanks! – user99902 May 1 '18 at 14:37
  • "Miranda" could be a memory trick from the book's Maurai Federation, the eco-friendly nation mentioned in the answer. I still think she's a significant character in the book, however. Either on the station or involved on the ground. IIRC there was a scientist or social worker working near the mountain with the ship in it that had some important book time as well. That could have been Miranda too. – user85223 May 1 '18 at 15:41
  • Just finished the book - this wasn't it. – user99902 Aug 15 '18 at 8:14
  • Sorry to hear that. Hope the book was worthy to read anyway. – user85223 Aug 15 '18 at 8:15

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