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I'm trying to find a sci-fi novel I read in the 1970s, probably a juvenile, that had these elements: the protagonist was an orphan who found his rich family (or perhaps I'm just confusing this aspect with Citizen of the Galaxy); the space travel involved ships that were described as "stitching through space" or maybe it was "threading through space" by popping in and out of space; and there was a multiplayer gambling game like you'd maybe see at a fair, with everyone competing with each other by operating controls as something happened on a central area, maybe with balls dropping into holes or something like that.

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    Story? Novel? Series? "A sci-fi" is not very helpful. – Meat Trademark Mar 5 '14 at 5:37
  • The FTL drive in Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe was a modified sewing machine. – user14111 Mar 5 '14 at 6:11
  • @MeatTrademark "a sci-fi I read in the 1970s" would suggest a novel? – James Khoury Mar 5 '14 at 6:26
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    @JamesKhoury Not necessarily. "A sci-fi novel" makes it easier. I read sci-fi short stories and comics in the 70's. Any clarification is good when asking for help identifying something. – Meat Trademark Mar 5 '14 at 9:09
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    It was a novel from the library. It could have been quite a bit older than 1980 in fact. Maybe the phrase was "threading space" rather than stitching. But it involved the ship popping in and out of space as it moved along. – Steve Mar 5 '14 at 13:39
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I know that this book was published in 1994, but could it be 'Neptune Crossing' by Jeffrey Carver, part of The Chaos Chronicles?

It has orphans and a description of space travel as "threading space".

Quote:

Charlie had told him that "threading space" meant that they were weaving in and out of the "normal" space-time continuum many hundreds of times per second. With each fraction of an instant that they were in "secondary" space, they slipped forward so that they reappeared in the normal continuum at a point considerably displaced from their previous position.

  • True, that mentions threading space, but that's not the one I'm looking for, which was written much earlier with a different sort of bildungsroman plot. – Steve Mar 8 '14 at 4:46

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