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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon I'm sure some of you are wondering if an orbital cannon would be possible. The answer is: yes! The idea of using of cannons to achieve orbit has been around since at least Isaac Newton's time. Back in the twentieth century (I love saying that), Canadian scientist and part-time Bond villain Gerald Bull worked on a "supergun" that would launch payloads into space - or drop bombs on nations half a continent away.

Obviously, a human being wouldn't normally be able to withstand the stresses of such a launch. The world of 2148 has a number of advanced technologies which ameliorate these stresses and allow the use of orbital cannons for human spaceflight.

Er...I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this which this author's note is too small to contain.

(Hey, it worked for Fermat...)

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs I'd also like to mention that the first use of an orbital cannon in literature is, of course, in Jules Verne's classic From the Earth to the Moon (as we all know they also turn up in James Clavell's Shogun, Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, and most memorably in Maya Angelou's The Heart of a Woman, but Verne was first.) He also kind of glosses over the whole launch-stresses-turning-the-hero-into-strawberry-jam issue, so we're in good company.