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"Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today -- but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all."
- Isaac Asimov

Orbital Terminus  
  An airport in space; a terminal for low earth orbit flights.  

The obvious model for Gibson's terminus is the retro cool spaceport used in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Japan Air's orbital terminus was a white toroid studded with domes and ringed with the dark-rimmed oval openings of docking bays. The terminal above Marly's g-web-though above had temporarily lost its usual meaning displayed an exquisitely drafted animation of the torus in rotation, while a series of voices in seven languages announced that the passengers on board JAL's Shuttle 580, Orly Terminus I, would be taxied to the terminal at the earliest opportunity. JAL offered apologies for the delay, which was due to routine repairs underway in seven of the twelve bays.

The interior of the JAL toroid was so bland, so unremarka- ble, so utterly like any crowded airport, that she felt like laughing. There was the same scent of perfume, human tension, and heavily conditioned air, and the same background hum of conversation. The point-eight gravity would have made it easier to carry a suitcase, but she only had her black purse. Now she took her tickets from one of its zippered inner pockets and checked the number of her connecting shuttle against the columns of numbers arrayed on the nearest wall screen.

From Count Zero, by William Gibson.
Published by Arbor House in 1986
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