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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Shadow Square Wire  
  Very fine, very light, very strong wire.  

The Ringworld needed light and dark cycles to provide the inhabitants with day and night. So, shadow squares were placed in orbit closer to the sun; the squares were connected to each other with a very fine wire.

The makers of Ringworld never intended that the inhabitants would ever encounter shadow square wire. But there it was.

"Don't touch it," Louis called... a girl had lost some fingers trying to pick up shadow square wire.

Close up, it still looked like black smoke... You could see the black thread, if your eye was within an inch of it; but then your eye would water and the thread would disappear. The thread was that close to being invisibly thin.

From Ringworld, by Larry Niven.
Published by Ballantine in 1970
Additional resources -

See also shadow squares.

Compare to ultron wire from Armageddon: 2419 A.D. (1928), by Philip Frances Nowlan.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ringworld
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Ringworld
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

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