Trying to remember the name of a sci-fi book I read in the late 70s or very early 80s.

The basic storyline concerns a group of scientists on the first "space station" (a very large habitat, far far far larger than Skylab, ISS, etc). There is also a UN police or military force on-board. One of the scientists uncovers a UN plot to seize control of the Earth, and the on-board UN authorities attempt to detain the scientists to prevent them from exposing the plot. A background subplot has a block of plastic forming the first "star drive"; it is being exposed to a minute force whilst held on a workbench, but this force is doubling every second. IIRC the final scene has the scientists deciding to leave orbit and colonise space. No idea when written, a thin paperback typical of what one would find for 70p or so "back in the day".

Would love to read it again, even if I find that nigh on 40 years later my literary expectations have changed dramatically!

  • Looks like you also asked it at arstechnica.com/civis/…. No answer, unfortunately.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 19, 2018 at 13:08
  • 2
    Yes, I did. I will edit and remove the first question, and resubmit as standalone. Thank you.
    – user109451
    Dec 19, 2018 at 13:58
  • Hi Lew. I took the liberty of improving the title of your question. If you think it's not accurate, please rephrase it! (Always prefer specific titles over generic "title of scifi book" ones :) )
    – Andres F.
    Dec 19, 2018 at 14:54
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    I see you've accepted an answer, so I'll just put this here for the future: Ben Bova's 'Exiled from Earth' has a very similar plot, with with the scientists in a large orbital station, and rebelling against the UN/world government because they decided to terminate their genetic research, so they build engines onto the station and decide to colonize another star system.
    – LAK
    Dec 19, 2018 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


The second story sounds a lot like "Where I Wasn't Going" by Walt and Leigh Richmond which appeared in Analog, November 1963 (one of the large-sized issues). It appeared (possibly modified) in book form as Challenge the Hellmaker from Ace in 1976.enter image description here

It has the large space station, the accidental star drive, an attempted take-over by "General Steve Elbertson, commanding officer of all space forces of the United Nations Security Forces." The major issues you don't mention are the AI, Bossie, and Project Hot Rod, a giant laser cannon which the UN Security Force hopes to use to control Earth.

You can see a copy on Project Gutenberg.

  • 1
    Many thanks Mark Olson - as I scrolled down and saw the book cover, I instantly recognised it. Exactly the same book. Thank-you!
    – user109451
    Dec 19, 2018 at 13:57

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