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The details I remember are that there's a satellite above Earth that shoots invisible heat rays at earth in a somewhat small circular area (perhaps a few dozen meters). for whatever reason the satellite goes rogue and starts randomly shooting its rays. This results in a scenario where a person sees it boiling the ocean as it moves closer to him and then he gets burned too. That's about all I can recall.

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Where and when did you read this? What is this satellite for? Who put it in orbit?
    – DavidW
    Aug 30, 2023 at 13:49
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    One of Asimov's Donovan & Powell robot stories, Reason, had this as the potential consequence of the apparently-rogue robot not letting them focus the microwave emitter correctly, -but it didn't actually happen. Aug 30, 2023 at 14:29
  • Energized by Edward Lerner, and PowerSat by Ben Bova both involve energy emitting satellites that get hijacked, but I can't find any references to a scene with a boiling ocean approaching someone.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 30, 2023 at 14:42

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My best guess for this would be Sunstroke (1993) by David Kagan.

A new energy source--a satellite that coverts the sun's energy into microwaves and beams them directly to earth--becomes a potential instrument of doomsday when its failsafe controls malfunction.

Unfortunately, I have long since lost the book and can't find any excerpts. But the plot is centered on a satellite which is a solar power station that beams its energy to a ground station via microwaves, and then gets knocked into an uncontrolled orbital path. There are a number of scenes depicting this doom of focused microwave energy approaching / overtaking people.

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