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Years ago, when I was in 6th grade, I picked up a sci-fi novel(-la? Pretty short) that was either translated into Chinese, or written in Chinese, more likely the former. That novel is centered around a machine that accelerates Earth's rotation artificially. It is someone's attempt to simulate weightlessness on Earth. They turn on the machine to accelerate Earth's natural rotation and take advantage of the centrifugal force. Consequently, things gets out of hand and surface objects are sent flying off into space, starting at the equator. Awesome book, the first novel that I finished in one sitting.

Does anyone remember reading something like that? What's the name of that story, and who's the author? Not necessarily in Chinese; I am betting on it having a French or German author - not to exclude any English authors.

  • Do you have a rough indication on when you think that the book might have been written? – Jack Jan 4 at 2:36
  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question? – Valorum Jan 4 at 10:03
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    There was a Xerox-lore sheet of paper about this passed around in engineering offices during the 1980s. The precursor to memes. It was a belt of giant rockets around the equator. Amusing concept, interesting that it made it into a novel. – Organic Marble Jan 4 at 13:22
  • Jack, I didn't pay attention to that. Fascinating, Organic Marble. – YoungAtHeart Jan 11 at 22:12
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I do remember reading something like that, but it almost certainly wasn't it. It was a graphic novel (comic series?) published before and immediately after the Second World War in Italy; this was the sixth installment, entitled "The Air Sphere".

An alien scientist called Netro decides to avenge himself against the Earth, and builds an "air sphere" holding a terrifying volume of "solidified air". With this, he starts acting as a gear to spin up the Earth and wreck the planet, flinging the atmosphere into space and destabilizing its surface.

To counteract this effect, a scientist called Professor Marcus has a belt of enormous rockets built and anchored at the poles (yeah, the science there reaches thus the sixth level of bad, even for the 1940's) to slow down the planet back to the original rotation rate.

The comic's original title was "Saturno contro la Terra" (Saturn vs Earth or Saturn against the Earth). There was a novelization afterwards that got translated into English around 1955.

  • YoungAtHeart here. Didn't have an account, so I had the hardest time finding this thread again. I have yet to track down an English version of Saturno contro la Terra, but thanks for the lead. I am 80% sure this is it. Coincidentally, I did study Italian quite a bit and just may have to settle on the Italian novelization. Many thanks again – YoungAtHeart Jan 11 at 22:09

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