I thought You might be the right people to help me with a
sci-fi story that's been bugging me for years now.
I'm sure you've experienced it yourself before: you read a great sci-fi
short story, then you want to revisit it, but you don't remember the title,
the author nor the source. So here's what I remembered of the brilliant
short story I've read: it was taking place in alternative reality during
WWII. Earth was a little different, in the sense that it was not quite
following the rules of Euclidean geometry - it was a sphere, but there was
something strange about the space between Japan and America, it was...
infinite. An expedition was put together in Europe to determine whether
Japan could pose a threat to the States. A blimp was tied on a rope to the
top of the Eiffel Tower, and the line was being gradually extended. The
blimp was manned by a number of people, with some small reconeissance planes
and a journalist, who became the narrator of the story. The expedition has
been going on for weeks, until the rope was extended for hundreds of
thousands of miles, and the blimp was still going in an unknown direction,
nowhere near America. Gradually, fights broke out on board over food and
water (I recall one of the fractions being referred to as Water Barons), and
matters going from bad to worse. The narrator ultimately decides to leave
the ailing blimp on one of the reconeissance plances. Many months later, the
blimp is recovered by the means of rope being retracted, and the narrator's
journal is the only known account of the story.
I must have read it some 10 years ago, but I'm pretty sure the short story
itself dates back to 50's or so, because it references 2nd World War, and it
is missing any of the modern inventions - wireless communications,
satellites, computers etc.
It was a really great story, in a really great anthology, and it has
bothered me for a couple of years now.
Do you happen to know the title and the author?
I would be extremely grateful