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I'm sorry, but I have no idea when I read it. It could be 10-20 years ago. I also have no idea where I read it, thought it was probably an e-book collection called "Polaris Sci-fi CD library" ("Polarisova SF biblioteka CD" in Serbian) from late 90s, but I guess that's not too helpful, and I'm even not sure of that.

As I remember, the premise of the story is that there is a guard aboard a ship/station inside hyperspace (or just another dimension outside of our universe) that keeps an eye on "things" (whatever those may be). The hyperspace that ships go through is just a tube not far from his post. It's usually a boring job.

What he sees outside his post are mostly his own hallucinations or something like that, as human mind can't comprehend what's out there and it constantly changes. There are creatures out there, but they are rarely seen (IIRC).

I just know the premise, but I believe that somewhere in the story he gets one or two companions aboard his station, and then some arachnids attack them? Not sure, they may have even been robots, but I don't remember.

Google comes up with a surprisingly small amount of results for those keywords - usually ten or less. If I remove some keywords, the search gets too broad.

What's constantly coming up are Larry Niven's "Ringworld" and David Brin's "Uplift" series. I have read both of them. I'm pretty sure it's not "Ringworld", but "Uplift" does share some strange similarities to the premise (Hyperspace level "E") with memetic creatures.

However, the creatures in the novel I'm looking for are outside of the tunnel, and the fight is happening there. I also mostly remember "Uplift" for planet Jijo and the Earth's patron/client struggle.

Edit: I'm not saying it isn't from "Uplift", it's just that I can't remember anything like what I described from my memory of the series. Of course, my memory is very bad. So if it actually is from "Uplift", please do me a favor and mention which book and chapter it's from.

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  • 1
    Just to be sure, you read the story in Serbian? Was the story apparently translated from another language (the other stories you mention suggest English)?
    – nebogipfel
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 4:10
  • 1
    @nebogipfel I have most probably read the story in Serbian. My memory is very bad, and I have a near-native knowledge of English so often I just don't remember in which language I read something (even if I read it yesterday). However, at that time, most of the stories I read were translated into Serbian. I don't know the original author nor the language the story was written.
    – byteflush
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 4:19
  • I'm actually starting to think it may have been "Uplift", but only a chapter or two, which I confused for a whole novel. However, no review/synopsis mentions anything like that, and I don't have the books available to check.
    – byteflush
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 4:23
  • 5
    Take a look at Heaven's Reach, the sixth Uplift Novel. It features a scenario very like what you describe. If the guard was an uplifted chimp (or ape of some description) it might be what you are looking for.
    – skyjack
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 10:54

2 Answers 2

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As suggested in the comments (answers are always better) another alternative is a sample chapter from Heaven's Reach the final book of the second uplift trilogy.

The described scene is actually a long way into the book (82% according to my kindle), which makes it odd for an excerpt.

The Avenue twisted across the foreground like a giant serpent, emerging from the murk on his left and vanishing into obscurity to his right.

Later paragraphs describe the Avenue as a tube. The action here takes place in E-space a complex land where allegories or memes are real things and looking at the landscape can make it change.

The MC in the paragraph is Harry Harms a neo-chimpanzee. His spacecraft current resembles a Spider following an encounter earlier in the book with a landscape dotted with Banana Peels (First Chapter), this early reference stresses the boredom of the assignment. E-space is not well trafficked and policing it is not generally eventful. Which is why a low status Chim like Harry has the job.

The Avenue isn't a transport tube, it is in fact the whole of normal space projected into E-space. As such you can move around the Galaxies quickly by picking you entry point.

The patch of E-space Harry is in has coallesped around his 'spider' frame of reference and strongly resembles an earthly dining room. When local creatures enter the space they shift forms to match, leading Harry to be attacked by various insects or bugs including a millipede that is able to absorb his bullets and use them to produce 'real matter' teeth significantly upping it's danger potential.

Harry rescues two Humans from Jijo during a later chapter where they've been brought by a machine intelligence that is dying during transit.

To match the description given you'd almost need to have pulled each section of the book that Harry features in, into a stand-alone short story.

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    Yes, that's it, thank you! There's so much going on in the "Uplift" series, so I thought this was another novel with the same premise. However, after reading a few chapters, this is the one I was thinking about.
    – byteflush
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 16:54
11

Another opportunity to suggest Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey. Originally published in 2015 so a little bit recent for the timeline suggested but not outrageous.

For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part. Until something goes wrong. Until a ship is in distress. In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to.

The main character is a Beacon watchman, it's a single person job left alone in space. He's able to monitor the ships passing by, not in a tube exactly, but always along the same path as far as I recall.

The 'novel' is actually constructed of five short stories, so it's a bit disjointed and I got it on Kindle unlimited so I no longer have a copy to check details against.

In terms of matching your other details though, he doesn't see hallucinations outside the Beacon, they're inside. The Beacon engine itself causes them, watchmen are supposed to stay away from the generator unless it is in need of repair, but being on his own on the station means that the MC seeks out these hallucinations at times to alleviate the boredom and loneliness.

The station is attacked at one point, but I think the invaders are robotic rather than arachnid, though the robots themselves may take that sort of shape.

In one of the stories (possibly Pet Rocks) I recall that he rescues a survivor from a accident so ends up with a companion, and story 4 is called Visitor and focuses on another arrival.

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