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"We didn't have a telephone and our family until I was about 15, in high school."
- Ray Bradbury

Wunderland Treatymaker  
  A weapon based on a power mining technique - a bit more advanced than a shovel.  

One of my favorite things about science fiction is you can effortlessly (some people do find exercising imagination effortless) create your inventions on a grand scale.

The Wunderland Treatymaker was used only once. It was a gigantic version of what is commonly a mining tool: a disintegrator that fires a beam to suppress the charge on the electron. Where a disintegrator beam falls, solid matter is rendered suddenly and violently positive. It tears itself into a fog of monatomic particles.

Wunderland built, and transported into the Warhead system, an enormous disintegrator firing in parallel with a similar beam to suppress the charge on the proton.

The two beams touched down thirty miles apart on Canyon's surface. Rock and kzinti factories and housing spewed away as dust, and a solid bar of lightning flowed between the two points. The weapon chewed twelve miles deep into the planet, exposing magma throughout a region the size and shape of Baja California on Earth.

From Ringworld Engineers, by Larry Niven.
Published by Del Rey in 1980
Additional resources -

Now, that's a weapon. It kind of reminds me of the largest mechanical trench excavator ever built; the T-1455 by Vermeer Manufacturing. It looked a lot like a standard chainsaw, except that the "saw" part was over forty feet long. Feel the power with the current model - the T1255 Commander.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ringworld Engineers
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Ringworld Engineers
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

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