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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Cylinder Space Suit  
  A mostly rigid, cylindrical space suit.  

Yet another creative effort to describe a different kind of space suit; see the links at the end for references to other unusual space suits. Here's what it looks like from the outside:

It was a tiny cylinder, just big enough to hold a manó and it did hold a man, for I could see his head through the plastic panels covering one end of the device. Long, jointed arms projected from the machine's body, and it was trailing a thin cable behind it. I could just make out the faint, misty jet of the tiny rocket motor which propelled this miniature space- ship.

And this will give you a bit more details.

We stood in front of the great circular door, resting snugly on its rubber gaskets, which led into the outer emptiness. Clamped to the walls around us were the space suits, and I looked at them longingly. It had always been one of my ambitions to wear one and to become a tiny, self-contained world of my own...

To most people, the word "space suit" conjures up a picture of something like a diving dress, in which a man can walk and use his arms. Such suits are, of course, used on places like the moon. But on a space station, where there's no gravity, your legs aren't much use anyway, because outside you have to blow yourself round with tiny rocket units.

For this reason, the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder. When I climbed inside it, I found that I could use my feet only to work some control pedals, which I was careful not to touch. There was a little seat, and a transparent dome covering the top of the cylinder gave me good visibility. I could use my hands and arms. Just below my chin there was a neat little control panel with a tiny keyboard and a few meters. If I wanted to handle anything outside, there were flexible sleeves through which I could push my arms. They ended in gloves which, although they seemed clumsy, enabled one to carry out quite delicate operations.

Tim threw some of the switches on my suit and clamped the transparent dome over my head. I felt rather like being inside a coffin with a view.


(Islands in the Sky)

From Islands in the Sky, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not known in 1952
Additional resources -

Compare to these other early space suit references; the air-tight suit from Edison's Conquest of Mars (1898) by Garrett P. Serviss, the pneumatic suit from The Shot into Infinity (1929) by Otto Willi Gail, the space suit from The Emperor of the Stars (1931) by Schachner and Zagat, the altitude suit from The Black Star Passes by John W. Campbell, the Osprey Space Armor from Salvage in Space (1933) by Jack Williamson, the space overalls from Lost Rocket (1941) by Manly Wade Wellman and the space bubble from The Planet Strappers (1961) by Raymond Z. Gallun.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Islands in the Sky
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Islands in the Sky
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Cylinder Space Suit-related news articles:
  - Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft

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