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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

High Orbit Archipelago  
  The habitable spaces in high earth orbit.  

Where is "high earth orbit?" Low earth orbit includes satellites with perigee as high as 2000 kilometers. High earth orbit probably refers to objects in geosynchronous orbit or higher (period of revolution 24 hours or greater).

Tessier-Ashpool ascended to high orbit's archipelago to find the ecliptic sparsely marked with military stations and the first automated factories of the cartels. And here they began to build. Their combined wealth, initially, would barely have matched Ono-Sendai's outlay for a single process-module of that multinational's orbital semiconductor operation, but Marie-France demonstrated an unexpected entrepreneurial flare, establishing a highly profitable data haven serving the needs of less reputable sectors of the international banking community. This in turn generated links with the banks themselves, and with their clients. Ashpool borrowed heavily and the wall of lunar concrete that would be Freeside grew and curved, enclosing its creators.
From Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson.
Published by Bantam in 1988
Additional resources -

It is interesting to note that the word "archipelago" means "chief sea" or Aegean Sea; it just happens that the Aegean Sea is peppered with tiny islands. In space, the term would refer to a region, rather than a particular formation of space stations.

The use of "archipelago" also serves a number of literary purposes for Gibson; it transfers a geographic term to the heavens in a very poetic way. In my mind, it associates ideas like "exploration" and "primitive" (thinking back to the exploration of earth's archipelagoes in the 16th and 17th centuries). It is really an inspired choice. The term is also used in Neuromancer by the same author (an earlier work).

As a space station, compare to the brick moon from The Brick Moon (1869) by Edward Everett Hale, the city of space from The Prince of Space (1931) by Jack Williamson, the New Moon Casino from One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson, the asteroid space station from Misfit (1939) by Robert Heinlein, the Venus Equilateral Relay Station from QRM - Interplanetary (1942) by George O. Smith, Wheelchair from Waldo (1942) by Robert Heinlein, the space transfer station from Between Planets (1951) by Robert Heinlein, the Sargasso Asteroid from The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester and the tether space station from Tank Farm Dynamo (1983) by David Brin.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mona Lisa Overdrive
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Mona Lisa Overdrive
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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