I have recently been obsessively hammering away at the Nuclear Pulse Propulsion book. 12 to 18 hour days, where I get *maybe* half a page done (either via text of CAD work). Next on my agenda is to re-read Niven/Pournelle’s “Footfall” (beginning right after I log off), and to start working on a 3D CAD model of the Michael. I recently thumbed through the book and found some of the descriptions… they’re pretty vague. My starting point will be the Spadoni diagrams, but I’m not going to slavishly stick to them if I think things should be otherwise.
The CAD work will be open to public discussion. Attempts to contact Niven and Pournelle to ask about whether they’d be willing and available to critique have failed to get a response, so this will end up being “non-canon,” I guess. One of the big problems right off is just how big the Michael is. There is a description of a segment of the pusher “dome” sitting across some docks… and being two yards thick (Orion was to use a pusher plate that in the giant-size vehicles would be several *inches* thick). And page 523 has one of the aliens describe the size of the ship as “twice eight-cubed srupkithp.” On page 195, one “srupk” (the plural of which seems to be “srupkithp”) is defined as 5.8 feet. So… the size would seem to be roughly 2 X 8X8X8 X 5.8 feet, or 5939 feet… 1.23 miles/1.8 kilometers. This is way too big; this was confirmed around a decade ago when I had about three milliseconds of face-to-face time with Pournelle at a sci-fi convention and he looked at me like I was a particularly ugly and intellectually challenged bug when I raised the numbers. But that’s all I have currently. If anyone has ideas, suggestions or sketches of yer own, here’s the place to put ’em forth.
The alien ships in “Footfall” are also nuclear pulse craft, so they’d be relevant as well, but I don’t recall much in the way of descriptive details about them.