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"[Science fiction] is the only kind of writing that allows you to look at the world we live in and change one piece at a time."
- Frederik Pohl

Minus-Matter  
  Material that negates weight.  

How to reduce the weight of these great ships of metal?

Menni took from his pocket a glass bottle containing a metallic liquid, which I took to be mercury. Strangely, however, this liquid, which filled not more than a third of the container, was not at the bottom of the bottle but in its upper part from just below the neck right up to the cork. Menni turned the bottle upside down and the liquid flowed upward to the bottom. He released the phial, and it hung suspended in midair. This was incredible, but there could be no doubt that it was really true.

"This is an ordinary glass phial," Menni explained, "but it contains a liquid which is repelled by the bodies of the solar system. Just enough liquid has been poured in to counterbalance the weight of the bottle, so that they are weightless taken together. We construct all our flying machines on the same principle. They are made of ordinary materials, but they have a reservoir filled with the appropriate quantity of this minus- matter. All that remains is to give this entire weightless system the proper speed. The flying machines intended for use in Earth's atmosphere have simple electric motors and wings. Such craft are of course unsuited for interplanetary travel, where we employ an entirely different system, with which I shall familiarize you in more detail later."

From Red Star, by Aleksandr Bogdanov.
Published by St. Petersburg in 1908
Additional resources -

Minus-matter has various uses:

"Our society is far ahead of the academic world in many important scientific questions. We knew about radioactive elements and their decay long before Curie and Ramsay, and our analysis of the structure of matter has come much further than theirs. We foresaw the possible existence of elements that are repelled by the planetary bodies and subsequently succeeded in synthesizing this minus-matter, as we briefly designate it.

"After that it was easy to develop and implement technical applications for the discovery first, flying machines for movement within the atmosphere, and then vehicles for travel to other planets."

...Let us not forget that radioactive matter is not only used to give the etheronephs their enormous velocity. You know that our entire chemical industry is now based on these substances. We use them to manufacture minus-matter, without which the etheronephs and our countless aircraft are only heavy, useless boxes. It is impossible to discontinue such uses of active matter.

Compare to apergy from Across the Zodiac (1880) by Percy Greg.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Red Star
  More Ideas and Technology by Aleksandr Bogdanov
  Tech news articles related to Red Star
  Tech news articles related to works by Aleksandr Bogdanov

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