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"Retire? Yeah, I want to die with my head in the typewriter. That's my idea of retirement."
- Alfred Bester

  Transparent and flexible material, even against hard vacuum in space.  

The Big Igloo, as the large living-Globe was more often called, was not really made of glass. It was sealingsilk, a cheap flexible material almost as transparent as fused silica and ten thousand times tougher—quite tough enough to hold a breathable pressure of air in the hard vacuum of space.  

Beyond the spherical wall loomed the other and somewhat smaller balloons of the Beat Cluster, connected to each other and to the Big Igloo by three-foot-diameter cylindrical tunnels of triple-strength tinted sealingsilk. In them floated or swam about an assemblage of persons of both sexes in informal dress and undress and engaged in activities suitable to freefall: sleeping, sunbathing, algae tending (“rocking” spongy cradles of water, fertilizer and the green scummy “guk”), yeast culture (a rather similar business), reading, studying, arguing, stargazing, meditation, space-squash (played inside the globular court of a stripped balloon), dancing, artistic creation in numerous media and the production of sweet sound (few musical instruments except the piano depend in any way on gravity).

Technovelgy from The Beat Cluster, by Fritz Leiber.
Published by Galaxy in 1961
Additional resources -

It was also self-sealing:

“Ah well, we all knew this bubble would someday burst,” Gussy Friml summed up, pinwheeling lazily in her black leotards...

  “Yes!” Knave Grayson agreed savagely. He’d seemed lost in brooding since his first remarks. Now as if he’d abruptly reached conclusions, he whipped out his knife and drove it through the taut sealingsilk at his elbow.  

The proctor knew he shouldn’t have winced so convulsively. There was only the briefest whistle of escaping air before the edge-tension in the sealingsilk closed the hole with an audible snap.

Knave smiled wickedly at the proctor. “Just testing,” he explained. “I knew a roustabout who lost a foot stepping “through sealingsilk. Edge-tension cut it off clean at the ankle. The foot’s still orbiting around the satellite, in a brown boot with needle-sharp hobnails. This is one spot where a boy’s got to remember not to put his finger in the dike.

Compare to stellene from The Planet Strappers (1961) by Raymond Z. Gallun.

Thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for the tip on this story.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Beat Cluster
  More Ideas and Technology by Fritz Leiber
  Tech news articles related to The Beat Cluster
  Tech news articles related to works by Fritz Leiber

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