The Other Side of the Sky: An Annotated Bibliography of Space Stations in Science Fiction, 1869-1993.
By Gary Westfahl. Holicong, Pennsylvania: Wildside Press/Borgo Press, 2009.
B154. Malcolm, Donald. "The Long Ellipse." New Worlds Science Fiction, 23 (January, 1958), pp. 30-42.
When a ship designed to reach Venus is spotted returning to Earth, five years after the attempt, the General whose son was on board the ship assumes that the ship is a derelict and that all persons on it are dead; nevertheless, he flies up to the Smith-Ross space station to lead a mission to investigate the ship. After waking up in the "hospital satellite, five hundred miles above the Earth" (41), he learns that the ship had been hit by a meteor shower, but that an unrevealed system for suspended animation was used to keep the whole crew alive for their return to Earth.
"In 1971, the first Smith-Ross manned space station was in orbit," and "In 1982, the fourth ship, Ulysses, left Smith-Ross One for Venus" (34)—the pertinent information here in the story's short history of space travel. The space station is hardly important to the story, but there is one sentence of striking poetry: "The spacetaxi buzzed like a mechanical bee into the heart of the great silver sunflower of the spacestation" (37).
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