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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Rotated Solid Space Habitat  
  A solid version of a artifact rotated to achieve artificial gravity.  

You may be familiar with other versions of this idea, which use only the interior surface of a rotated cylinder. Anderson cleverly uses all of the interior space for various purposes, rather than using it as "sky" or empty interior space. Or maybe for flying!

Circling Alpha Centauri near the middle of those asteroids called the Serpent Swarm, it was originally a chondritic body with a sideritic component giving it more structural strength than is usual for that kind. A rough cylinder, about fifty kilometers in length and 20 in diameter, it rotated on its long axis in a bit over ten hours; and at that epoch when humans arrived, that axis happened to be almost normal to the orbital plane. Those who settled on Wunderland paid it no attention; they had a habitable planet. The Belters who came later, from the asteroids of the Solar System, realized what a treasure was theirs. Little work was needed to make the cylinder smooth, control precession, and give it a centrifugal acceleration of one g at the circumference. With its axial orientation, the velocity changes for spacecraft to dock were minimal, and magnetic anchors easily held them fast until they were ready to depart. The excavation of rooms and passages in the yielding material went rapidly. Thereafter, spaces just under the surface provided Earth-weight for such activities as required it, including the bringing of babies to term; farther inward were the levels of successively lower weight, where Belters felt comfortable and where other undertakings were possible.

Everywhere around orbited members of the Swarm, their mineral wealth held in negligible gravity wells. Tiamat boomed. It became an industrial center, devoted especially to the production of things associated with spacefaring.

When the kzinti invaded, they were quick to realize its importance. Their introduction of the gravity polarizer changed many of the manufacturing programs, but scarcely affected Tiamat itself; one seldom had any reason to adjust the field in a given section, since one could have whatever weight was desired simply by going to the appropriate level.

Technovelgy from Iron, by Poul Anderson.
Published by Baen Books in 1989
Additional resources -

Most sf readers are familiar with Rama, from Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name. The earliest example of this that I can find is city of space, from a Jack Williamson story in 1931 (this article has a longer discussion of the antecedents for the idea). See also the can city from Hyperion (1989), by Dan Simmons.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Iron
  More Ideas and Technology by Poul Anderson
  Tech news articles related to Iron
  Tech news articles related to works by Poul Anderson

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