"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
You may be familiar with other versions of this idea, which use only the interior surface of a rotated cylinder. Anderson cleverly uses all of the interior space for various purposes, rather than using it as "sky" or empty interior space. Or maybe for flying!
Most sf readers are familiar with Rama, from Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name. The earliest example of this that I can find is city of space, from a Jack Williamson story in 1931 (this article has a longer discussion of the antecedents for the idea). See also the can city from Hyperion (1989), by Dan Simmons.
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