"I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander."
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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'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'
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'It extrudes material like a spider.'
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'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
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'... could seal the punctures.'
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'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'
Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'
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'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'
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'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'
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