Trying to find this really cool story I read in an anthology years ago, about a future nanobot augmented humanity that was essentially immortal, travelling around in a spaceship large enough to contain entire solar systems; It takes place over the course of 50,000 years and involves the creation of an entire cult religion from the millenia-spanning subterfuge of one bored societal member.

The main character has kids, who find an object on one of the planets inside on of the systems inside this giant "spacecraft" for lack of a better term. Unknown to anyone, the object was placed there by a member of this future society that was bored with the way things were and wanted power and control; this guy causes the humans to crash-land on a "planet," which is sort of inside a dyson's sphere type thing, and while temporarily stranded there uses this object to make a multi-thousand year cult which, at the very end, the main character (a woman) flies down to hopefully free them from this false religion (that's the end; there is no continuation to tell if she was successful).

One other detail; the humans were SO augented with cybernetics that they are described as being unrecognizable as humans to us; they are described in such a way as to make them seem like Mecha. When they get injured, nanobots repair them in time and they are as good as new.

The work might have been in an Asimov or Nebula anthology, early to mid 2000s perhaps?

  • @Trip Space-Parasite, I think you might be right! I am looking to see if perhaps what I read is a part of this Short Story collection mentioned in the site you linked to: - the Great Ship collection of short stories set in the same Universe (in fact the same Spaceship)
    – Aegis72
    Jan 28, 2019 at 23:03
  • How did I forget to mention the short stories in my answer?! Jan 28, 2019 at 23:08
  • Oddly, I know I have read this and yet no mention is made of many of the details I remember. I just went through the plotlines of all the "Great Shiop" novellas and none are a match; Marrow is certainly the closest though. It has almost all the elements, and this passage I distinctly remember (damn, looking for it now. Lost it in a closed tab)
    – Aegis72
    Jan 28, 2019 at 23:15
  • Almost assuredly it is in this book, which based on the cover I used to own. Getting closer! This was the "Short Story" version, published prior to the 2000 adaptation that turned it into a larger novel. Going to see if I can find a copy that I can read online. isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?50810
    – Aegis72
    Jan 29, 2019 at 3:30
  • The idea of worlds within an artificial sphere made me think of the "Virga" series from Karl Schroeder, but I don't recall one of the novels having a plot matching the one described.
    – user22478
    Jan 29, 2019 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


This sounds a little like Marrow, by Robert Reed, but not exactly. From Goodreads:

The Ship has traveled the universe for longer than any of the near-immortal crew can recall, its true purpose and origins unknown. It is larger than many planets, housing thousands of alien races and just as many secrets.

Now one of those secrets has been discovered: at the center of the Ship is . . . a planet. Marrow. But when a team of the Ship's best and brightest are sent down to investigate, will they return with the origins of the Ship--or will they bring doom to everyone on board?

If it's not Marrow, it might be one of the other stories set in the same universe, at different times in the history of the Ship. I know I haven't read all of them.

  • Yes, it is Marrow----but not the one that became a book, but a novella that was written in 1998. That's why it was "almost, but not quite;" in the original Novella the plot and the reasoning for the Trip into the core of the Greatship were different. But reading what I can here, the character of Diu is the one who planned the big lie, and did so over the course of 10s of thousands of years. books.google.com/books/about/…
    – Aegis72
    Jan 29, 2019 at 4:00
  • 1
    Nice! Please go ahead and self-answer, then. Jan 29, 2019 at 16:19

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