World’s Fair 1992, by Robert Silverberg

Second paragraph of third chapter:

“Where do we place our orders?”

A somewhat unexpected YA novel from Robert Silverberg, who I did not realise had written for that group of readers (but he has written so many books in many genres and sub-genres, and I should not have been surprised). It’s about our young hero who is brought to stay on the largest space station in history as a prize in an essay competition. it’s very reminiscent of Heinlein’s juveniles – there are intelligent but alien Martians, and an expedition to Pluto – but I was interested in the character of Claude Regan, the visionary billionaire who funds the space station and other projects; if the book had been written today, we’d see him as a portrayal of Elon Musk, and I wonder if Musk read this book (he’d have been 11 when it came out in 1982). Not spectacular, but an inter4esting snapshot of the time. You can get it here.

This was both the top unread book on my shelf acquired in 2016, and the sf book that had lingered longest unread. The next books respectively on those piles are Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep, by Elizabeth Bear, and Atlantis Fallen, by C.E. Murphy.