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

"At its best, SF is the medium in which our miserable certainty that tomorrow will be different from today in ways we can't predict, can be transmuted to a sense of excitement and anticipation, occasionally evolving into awe."
- John Brunner

Darkness Bomb  
  A small bulb containing a vapor that causes darkness to occur.  

Spencer pulled some thing the size of a hen's egg from his pocket, held it out at arm's length, and dropped it gracefully.

It hit with a dull, hollow plop, and burst into an instant, spreading blackness! In a fraction of a second the room was in utter blackness, a jet night so intense that the powerful glow lamps of the laboratory were utterly lost. There was nothing but a solid, impenetrable wall of blankness.

"Good lord, what is that?" gasped Aarn. "Hey--where in blazes are you? I can't--say, I can't see my hand when it's touching my face. Uh--here's a light now--"

Silence. A chuckle from Spencer. "It won't work--"

"Haw!" Spencer looked at the screen of his heat-eye televisor, and grinned wider.

As though through a slight, bright fog, he could see Aarn, shining brightly, and holding a flash-lamp that was shining equally brightly, but seemed to be curiously affected by the fog. "It's working. It just can't light, can't send a beam. Put it about half an inch from your eye, and you can see it."

Aarn did. "Sweet singing satellites--what a fog that ink makes! What in space is it?"

"Infra-infra-infra fluorescence." Spencer grinned. "And your heat-eye works beautifully. That's what friend Carlisle made for the occasion of our raid. The chemical tanks contain a load of this. It combines with the oxygen of the air to form a chemical dye in particles so tiny they are close to the brownian limits, and won't settle out in less than about three hours under Tell-el's gravity."

"Infra-infra-and so forth. I think I commence to under stand. Will you kindly supply me with one of those heat visors so I can see my way out? What do you do to use it in this?"

"Stick it so close to your eyes, and turn it up so far that you can see it. This fog isn't utterly impenetrable, you know."

"No--but if I am right, it would be darned near it. I take it that this stuff acts the way fluorescence does with ultra violet. It takes ultra-violet, and reduces it to visible light. This takes visible, and reduces it to infra-visible. Right?"

"Quite right. The heat-visor is somewhat obscured, be cause that re-radiation of heat by the little particles of the dye makes a foglike breaking up of the light, and also the heat."

Technovelgy from The Mightiest Machine, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1934
Additional resources -

Ray Cummings used the same idea in his 1936 story The Blood of the Moon:

He hurled a tiny fragile glass bomb to the deck-grid at his feet; darkness sprang like a shroud, through which Georg fired the flash gun with a succession of stabbing, unaimed bolts...

The spiral to the dome-peak was only a few feet away... They mounted; the lightweight gas of the artificial darkness mounted with them. The turmoil of the deck now showed dimly down below. They reached the platform grid; but the dissipating gas had thinned so that they were discovered.

Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @Nyrath) of Project Rho for sending this reference!

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mightiest Machine
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to The Mightiest Machine
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

Articles related to Weapon
Bullet Steers Itself! The Advanced Low-Cost Munitions Ordnance ALaMO
Russians Think US Is Weaponizing Asteroids
Drone Bombings In Moscow Foreseen 100 Years Ago
TM-62 Loitering Ground Landmine

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

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.'

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.