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"I identify with the weak person; this is one reason why my fictional protagonists are essentially antiheroes."
- Philip K. Dick

Zeta-Ray  
  Makes and maintains vast holes - even in ocean water!  

Now was my first chance to look about, to discover what sort of place this was. It was an oval plain, roughly a mile wide by five miles long. Buildings, squat structures of corrugated iron, were scattered here and there. In the distance, to my left, what seemed a great hole in the ground glowed; a huge disk of light.

Dry land, here, where there should tie nothing but a waste of waters!..

The translucent green wall in whose depths I had seen the blind fish rushing toward me. Impossible! There were scientific miracle-workers in the enemy’s ranks, but they couldn’t have hollowed out a pit such as this in mid-ocean; forced back the very ocean to create this amphitheatre, this dry plain on the Atlantic's very bottom; held back the unthinkable weight of Earth's waters by a nothingness. Incredible!..

The great plain had been cleared by the ray. The dim shapes floating high in that far-circling ellipse were pouring down the dreadful vibrations, thus holding back the sea in a marvelous green wall. I remembered the sea-monster that had dashed at me and vanished. That proved it. The dome of cloud was camouflage, or the product of the processes of destruction going on underneath: it didn’t matter. What mattered was that it was interlaced by a network of ray beams. It was an impenetrable wall, a perfect defense...


(The Zeta-Ray installation from'The Death-Cloud' by Schachner and Zagat)

A long row of giant electrode bulbs, as tall as a man, stretched before me — the source of the Zeta-ray. From here came the power that held back the waters, that bored the tunnel. A thunderous knocking shook the door. Someone at a huge switch-board turned toward me. Instantly my hand was out of my pocket, and the ray-tube leveled at the nearest bulb. I pressed the trigger. The bulb crashed. I swept down the line. Crash, crash, crash — they were all gone.

THEN came a sound of crashing thunder that split my eardrums with its unbearable clamor. Then a mightier roar, as the mountain-high sea, held back so long by the invisible ray, poured its countless millions of tons of deep green water down into the man-made hole.

Technovelgy from The Death Cloud, by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat).
Published by Astounding Stories in 1931
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  More Ideas and Technology from The Death Cloud
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)
  Tech news articles related to The Death Cloud
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)

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