Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I'm a farm boy. It's very interesting; you can detect self-starting characteristics in this society and they are strongest among people who have had some kind of rural upbringing and a very impressionable stage."
- Frank Herbert

Positive Ray Propulsion (Ion Drive)  
  An ion drive.  

Very good and very early description of an ion drive system for propulsion.

Nine slender sunships lay at the side of the wide, high-fenced field, just in front of their sheds. In the brilliant morning sunlight they scintillated like nine huge octagonal ingots of polished silver.

These war-fliers of the Moon Patrol were eight-sided, about twenty feet in diameter and a hundred long. Built of steel and the new aluminum bronzes, with broad vision panels of heavy vitrolite, each carried sixteen huge positive ray tubes. These mammoth vacuum tubes, operated at enormous voltages from vitalium batteries, were little different in principle from the "canal ray" apparatus of some centuries before. Their "positive rays," or streams of atoms which had lost one or more electrons, served to drive the sunship by reaction—by the well-known principle of the rocket motor.

And the sixteen tubes mounted in twin rings about each vessel served equally well as weapons. When focused on a point, the impact-pressure of their rays equaled that of the projectile from an ancient cannon. Metal in the positive ray is heated to fusion, living matter carbonized and burned away. And the positive charge carried by the ray is sufficient to electrocute any living being in contact with it.

From The Prince of Space, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Also a good early example of what Larry Niven called the Kzinti lesson, namely, that "a reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive."

Compare to the ion drive from Equalizer (1947), by Jack Williamson; this is the first use of the term in science fiction. Also, see the T.I.E. fighters from the Star Wars novelization by George Lucas. See also the use of finely divided dust as propellant from Earthlight (1955) by Arthur C. Clarke.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Prince of Space
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to The Prince of Space
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

Articles related to Space Tech
Spaceships Should Last So Long
Space Station Shutters
MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

NAVER Labs Haptic Device 2.0 Robot vs. IKEA
'... the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’

Shine On, Portable Wind Turbine
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'

Amazing Indoor Robotic Drones Mimic Dolphins and Whales
'They circled the vast audiences, dancing, twittering, chirping...'

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...'

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!'

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts..'

Tianjin Solar Vehicle From Hanergy (2022) Looking Like Heinlein's (1940)
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain
'... the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions.'

Sky Cruise Nuclear Powered Flying Hotel Concept
'... the huge air-freighter Jupiter.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.