Hanging by a Thread

Hanging by a Thread


(2 Reviews)
Hanging by a Thread by Randall Garrett





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Hanging by a Thread


(2 Reviews)
It's seldom that the fate of a shipful of men literally hangs by a thread—but it's also seldom that a device, every part of which has been thoroughly tested, won't work....

Book Excerpt

he was spinning around his longitudinal axis or whether the ship was actually rotating about him. He closed his eyes again.

He didn't feel more than a little dizzy, but he couldn't be sure whether the dizziness was caused by his spinning or the blow on his head. He opened his eyes again and grabbed at the book that was orbiting nearby, then hurled it as hard as he could toward the sometime ceiling. "The Pride of the Pecos" zoomed rapidly in one direction while Jayjay moved sedately in the other.

The ship was spinning slightly, all right. When he finally grabbed a chair, he found that there was enough spin to give him a weight of an ounce or two. He sat down as best he could and took a good look around.

Aside from "The Pride of the Pecos" and a couple of other books, the air was remarkably free from clutter. There hadn't been much loose stuff laying around. A pencil, a few sheets of paper--nothing more.

There was one object missing. Jayjay looked around more carefully, and this time

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An interesting premise, and the story goes on pretty well at first, but then gets seriously bogged down in the very specific details of a mechanical problem. The entire story becomes nothing more than a narrative of how to solve a mechanical problem.

The author attempts to throw in a twist at the end, but it's quite lame and adds little to the story.
The ship outbound for Pluto is at its turnover point--at maximum velocity, about to begin deceleration--when it brushes some debris, destroying its engines. They can be rescued, if they can signal their emergency, but none of the emergency radios will work.

Some interesting science up to and following the disaster, with a convenient omission of how any rescuers would match their velocity and brake them. Oh, well.