The story took place on a "planet" constructed like a set of nesting dolls, with people living on the surface of each of the hundreds or thousands of concentric spheres. There was some sort of AI gatekeeper intended to prevent travel between spheres, but the inhabitants had discovered how to disable it with a paradox.

Probably a short story, not a novel. I read it 30 years ago when I was a teenager, but I think it's older than I am.

Any ideas?

  • 3
    Ian M. Bank's novel Matter takes place on a world like this, but it's a recently published novel, so it's definitely not the answer... – thedaian Jan 16 '12 at 4:14
  • 1
    Just FYI, that's probably some variant of a Dyson Sphere. Try en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_spheres_in_popular_culture – ripper234 Jan 16 '12 at 4:16
  • Thanks, all. I'll try Kapp's and Stableford's books. – user4312 Jan 19 '12 at 3:10

Sounds similar to Asgard's Secret by Brian Stableford, which is the correct age (it was a short story, then a novel).


That sounds like the Cageworld series by Colin Kapp, though it's only 30 years old, so it's a bit recent for your description. The plot summary of the first book, Search for the Sun (also known as Cageworld) sounds right.


It sounds like the novella "Ker-Plop" by Ted Reynolds, published 1979. It likely appeared in Analog or Asimov's magazine.


  • I don't think you'll ever get this accepted — that user has not returned since 2012. – can-ned_food Mar 13 '17 at 17:51
  • Consider it just an addition to an interesting list. I had no idea there were this many stories about concentric worlds. – Shawn V. Wilson Mar 13 '17 at 22:02
  • Asimov's January 1979. You couldn't be bothered to look it up? Guess I'll save myself the bother of clicking on the upvote button. – user14111 Mar 13 '17 at 22:18
  • Also, you didn't bother to tell us how it matches the OP's description. Does it have (1) a planet made of hundreds or thousands of concentric spheres (2) with an AI gatekeeper (3) which was disabled by a paradox? Am I going to have to find a copy of the story and read it myself to find out? – user14111 Mar 13 '17 at 22:22
  • Where I looked it up, it didn't say where it had been published. I was going by memory. (1) Yes. (2) I don't recall. (3). I don't recall. – Shawn V. Wilson Mar 14 '17 at 4:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.