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My aunt loves sci fi books and when I was young, she would tell me the stories. There was one with this sort of plot:

  • There was a HUGE spaceship that held 2 exemplars of all species in the entire universe/galaxy, placing them in their natural habitat.
  • These species were not aware of the existence of the other aliens or that they were in a spaceship.
  • There were 2 humans, I think one was a scientist and the other an athlete. They realize they are inside the spaceship and manage to travel between habitats. I think they end up killing a thing that looks like a giant spider.
  • They realize the enormous ship is just a tiny one compared to the mother-ship.

She talks about this with such a fascinated look, because the SIZE of it amazed her so much, but she can't remember the title, or the author. I'd like to find it and give it to her as a gift. I should say this: my aunt sometimes mixes things up, so I wouldn't be surprised if some of it was from a Star Trek episode. But I'd like to know if some of it sounds familiar to someone here. Thank you very much.

  • I mention this only because you say that your grandmother’s recollection of the details might be a bit fuzzy … and I’m posting it as a comment because, sadly, I don’t remember the title.  This reminds me of a radio series that I listened to (in USA) in the early 1970s — just a few years after Star Trek (the original series) went off the air.  It took place on some sort of spacecraft; whether it was mobile (a vessel) or not (a space station), I don’t recall.  … – Peregrine Rook Apr 30 '15 at 17:31
  • …  It was composed of many smallish regions, or habitats, of some sort.  I remember having a mental picture of bubbles connected by tubes, but I’m not sure whether that was specified in the script, or I extrapolated it.  The overwhelming majority (99⁺%) of the residents were not aware of anything outside their own habitat (or that they were in space).  The protagonists were a small (maybe between four and eight) group of characters — mostly, if not all, human — who discovered the nature of the place, and how to travel between the habitats.  So they did so.  … – Peregrine Rook Apr 30 '15 at 17:32
  • …  From that point, it was conceptually a copy of the Star Trek paradigm — each week, our heroes would visit a new place, that was different from the places they had been before, and the inhabitants (again, mostly, but probably not all, human) were different from the folks they had encountered before.  I guess the premise was that there were enough of these habitats that they could feature a different one every week.  As I recall, though, the series survived for no more than a year. – Peregrine Rook Apr 30 '15 at 17:32
  • I don't think here in Portugal there were many sci fi shows on the radio, but I'll try to find that. It is very similar to what she remembers. Thank you very much for your answer. – Kirjava May 1 '15 at 17:58
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    This sounds like the Starlost TV show. – Dosco Jones Jul 11 '19 at 20:03
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Arthur C Clarke's Rama series?

edited to elaborate - it's not a perfect match, I'll admit, but:

Rama is huge. "Octospiders" are (one of) the other species on board, much xenophobia/conflict ensues. Rama II ends with three humans stuck on Rama. Garden of Rama has them arriving at a Node, which from memory is substantially larger than the Rama craft.

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    Could you edit this answer to elaborate on why you think this is what the questioner is looking for? – Jason Baker Apr 30 '15 at 15:26
  • I'm reading the plot online and I'm not sure this might be it... I'd like little more elaboration, please :D – Kirjava Apr 30 '15 at 15:28
  • She doesn't have a that good of a memory, as I said, so some details might be a little off. I'll tell her about Rama and see if that's the one. Thank you very much for your suggestion. – Kirjava May 1 '15 at 17:59
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Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin is a book about a spaceship ark, where the main character kills a giant spider. None of the other details match however.

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Sounds like Clarke's Rama as others have suggested. Also I thought of Universe by Robert Heinlein. Though, not a perfect match either, it deals with a massive ship where the inhabitants are classified into two groups the normal people and the mutants, exiled to the uppermost decks. The two main characters must go into hiding after a tragedy involving one of the old historians who recites the history of 'the ship'. The Ship is a Noah's Ark type craft, carrying an entire race of people originally intended to populate another world. When you stated 'Noah's Ark' it made me think of this story. They travel for generations in space and all of the 'normal' inhabitants are now unaware they're even aboard a ship. The original purpose has been lost over time and it's only the exiled 'mutants' who know the truth and are courageous enough to ask.

It was made into a radio drama for X Minus One and Dimension X.

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