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"I think that self-limitation is the major limiting factor for most people in the world."
- Frank Herbert

Gravitic Repulsion Elevator  
  The elevator was of the new sort that ran by gravitic repulsion.  

I love this kind of device. Let's take something that is so fantastic, and requires so much energy, that it would be impossible - and then apply it to something completely mundane. Who would ever think of this? This part of the novel relates the first moments of Gael Dornick's arrival on the planet Trantor - which is almost certainly the inspiration for Coruscant, the center of the galactic republic in the Star Wars universe.

He added, conversationally, "I don't bother with the outside myself. The last time I was in the open was three years ago. You see it once, you know and that's all there is to it. Here's your ticket. Special elevator in the rear. It's marked 'To the Tower.' Just take it."

The elevator was of the new sort that ran by gravitic repulsion. Gaal entered and others flowed in behind him. The operator closed a contact. For a moment, Gaal felt suspended in space as gravity switched to zero, and then he had weight again in small measure as the elevator accelerated upward. Deceleration followed and his feet left the floor. He squawked against his will.

The operator called out, "Tuck your feet under the railing. Can't you read the sign?"

The others had done so. They were smiling at him as he madly and vainly tried to clamber back down the wall. Their shoes pressed upward against the chromium of the railings that stretched across the floor in parallels set two feet apart. He had noticed those railings on entering and had ignored them.

Then a hand reached out and pulled him down.

He gasped his thanks as the elevator came to a halt.

From Foundation, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1951
Additional resources -

Nobody does it better than Asimov, effortlessly building a field that nullifies gravity into an elevator. Mr. Otis would approve. And, of course, details like this help build your impression of Trantor; when that much money pools in one place, the most lavish expenditures seem ordinary and reasonable.

For another very creative look at what an elevator could be, see the entry for bubble from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven. For another take on anti-gravity, see the gravity web from the novel Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert; maybe it's not impossible.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Foundation
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