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

"There's a poetry in the materials we use to construct our world of artifacts; it speaks of our long history as a technological species."
- William Gibson

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."

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
China's Crab Walker Robot Tank In Firing Mode
EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Navy Deploys LaWS First Ship-Borne Laser
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Linux Robot Masters Automatic Charging
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'

PR2 Robot Dominates In Laundry Room
Where are the robots who will pick up discarded clothes?

Do You Want A Tablet Computer? Or, Fad Over?
'He would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit'

First Person Video Flying Parrot Bebop Drone Video
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight...'

XPrize's Diamandis Implants RFID Tag In Hand
'People in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip about the size of a vitamin pill.'

Lightpaper Way Thinner Than OLED
'You have this on Siwenna?'

Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'

Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight [using] an image of all that the lens eye saw.'

SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
Genomic DNA for analog, rewritable, and flexible memory.

Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.