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Orion Drive   >   Books   >   Fiction
   

Project Orion in Science Fiction

Project Orion is one of the great might-have-beens of the space age, and it is therefore no surprise to see that it features in many science fiction and alternate history stories. Here are some examples:
  • In S. M. Stirling's novel, The Stone Dogs, nuclear pulse propulsion powered spacecraft are used to colonize the solar system in an alternate version of the Cold War.

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    Stone Dogs (Draka #3)
    By S.M. Stirling

    Baen
    Mass Market Paperback (522 pages)

    Stone Dogs (Draka #3)
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    Product Description:
    The Stone Dogs is the third of four books of S.M. Stirling's alternate history series, The Domination. During the cold war between the Alliance and the Domination, Frederic and Marya work for the OSS as spies and assassins. During the Draka conquest of India, Marya Lefarge is taken prisoner. She becomes a serf to Yolande Ingolfsson, who after torturing her repeatedly with a neural weapon, forces her to become a "brooder" (i.e. a surrogate mother) for her offspring, Gwendolyn. Yolande also swears vengeance on Fred Lefarge after he kills her lover, Myfanwy Venders, during the Indian Incident. As both superpowers expand into space, they prepare different doomsday weapons. The Alliance's weapon is a computer virus ("comp plague") secretly planted in Draka military computers by spies; the Draka's is a biological virus called the Stone Dogs that causes infected personnel to go insane. Yolande discovers Marya, who has contacted the OSS, planting the comp-plague and allows her to escape with knowledge of the Stone Dogs. This forces her uncle, Archon Eric von Shrakenberg, to use the weapon prematurely. The Draka win the resulting conflict; however, their incomplete victory leads to Eric negotiating an arrangement whereupon the Alliance is allowed to launch its generation ship "The New America" and the remaining Alliance survivors in space are granted limited Draka citizenship.


  • In Larry Niven's and Jerry Pournelle's novel, Footfall, the United States builds an Orion-like spaceship named Michael to fight aliens who were attempting to conquer the Earth.

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    Footfall by Niven, Larry, Pournelle, Jerry (1988) Paperback
    Orbit
    Paperback

    Footfall by Niven, Larry, Pournelle, Jerry (1988) Paperback
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  • In Poul Anderson's novel, Orion Shall Rise, the Project Orion is resurrected several hundred years after a devasting nuclear war.

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    Orion Shall Rise
    By Poul Anderson

    Distributed by Simon and Schuster
    Paperback (463 pages)

    Orion Shall Rise
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    Product Description:
    After nuclear weapons ravaged the Earth, only Skyholm, a huge solar-powered station floating above Europe, remains in possession of high technology. But as Skyholm is seized by a religious faction, a young noble escapes to the ground below and joins a group who conspire to use the power of the atom, outlawed for centuries, to regain the lost heritage of space flight.

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