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"Poised between intransigent scepticism and uncritical credulity, it [science fiction] is par excellence the literature of the open mind."
- John Brunner

Shipstone  
  A lot of power in a small, manufactured package.  

The Shipstone complex is mammoth, all right, because they supply cheap power to billions of people who want cheap power and want more of it every year. But it is not a monopoly because they don't own any power; they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...
From Friday, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Not Known in 1982
Additional resources -

In the story, Shipstones come in various sizes, some large enough to power ocean freighters and even spaceships. Others are smaller, intended to power a home or even a small tool, like a drill.

...the place was dark as ink...

So whip out your pocket torch, Friday, powered with its own tiny lifetime Shipstone, and search.

Compare to the solid power from Revolt on the Tenth World (1940) by Edmond Hamilton and the kink springs from The Calorie Man (2005), by Paolo Bacigalupi.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Friday
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Friday
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Shipstone-related news articles:
  - EEStor Ultracapacitor 'Battery' And Heinlein's Shipstone
  - Betavoltaic Battery: 30 Years Of Power
  - Hyperion Power Module Neighborhood Nuclear Reactor
  - Bloom Box Brick Powers Your Home
  - Russia's Self-Contained Nuclear Lighthouses
  - Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia

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