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

"If you have a gut response to a story, you are not responding to something new ..you are really responding to a story you were told when you were six or seven…"
- Samuel R. Delany

Positive Ray Propulsion (Ion Drive)  
  An ion drive.  

Very good and very early description of an ion drive system for propulsion.

Nine slender sunships lay at the side of the wide, high-fenced field, just in front of their sheds. In the brilliant morning sunlight they scintillated like nine huge octagonal ingots of polished silver.

These war-fliers of the Moon Patrol were eight-sided, about twenty feet in diameter and a hundred long. Built of steel and the new aluminum bronzes, with broad vision panels of heavy vitrolite, each carried sixteen huge positive ray tubes. These mammoth vacuum tubes, operated at enormous voltages from vitalium batteries, were little different in principle from the "canal ray" apparatus of some centuries before. Their "positive rays," or streams of atoms which had lost one or more electrons, served to drive the sunship by reaction—by the well-known principle of the rocket motor.

And the sixteen tubes mounted in twin rings about each vessel served equally well as weapons. When focused on a point, the impact-pressure of their rays equaled that of the projectile from an ancient cannon. Metal in the positive ray is heated to fusion, living matter carbonized and burned away. And the positive charge carried by the ray is sufficient to electrocute any living being in contact with it.

From The Prince of Space, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Also a good early example of what Larry Niven called the Kzinti lesson, namely, that "a reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive."

Compare to the ion drive from Equalizer (1947), by Jack Williamson; this is the first use of the term in science fiction. Also, see the T.I.E. fighters from the Star Wars novelization by George Lucas. See also the use of finely divided dust as propellant from Earthlight (1955) by Arthur C. Clarke.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Prince of Space
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to The Prince of Space
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

Articles related to Space Tech
Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
MOOSE: Man Out Of Space Easiest or Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment
NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station

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

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

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.