"I've been very obsessive about writing science fiction for far too many years. Anyone with an ounce of sense would have given up years ago."
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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'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'
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'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'
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'... it was the cheapest building material known.'
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'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'
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It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.
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'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'
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'Take care, sir.'
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'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'
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'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'
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'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'
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