"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
If Somnium is the first science fiction book (which many people argue is true), then this is probably the first reference to the idea of zero gravity, or weightlessness.
Note that the word "gravity" is not used to describe the attraction between masses; Isaac Newton did not describe universal gravitation until 1687.
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'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
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