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"Does it open a new horizon for my thinking? Does it lead me to think new kinds of thoughts, that I would not otherwise perhaps have thought at all? These qualities are what [make] science fiction ...unique."
- Frederik Pohl

Electron Gun  
  How to add a lot of electrons to a lot of positrons?  

A businessman decides to corner the market on potable water by changing natural water to heavy water. How can you even find him?

How Munn has been curving his streams of positrons so that we canít check back by directional angles to their source. Heís superimposed an additional positive charge. The earth is an enormous magnet. The south pole is its negative pole. As a result of the extra charge the streams of positrons, no matter which way they start out originally, feel the pull of the south pole and swerve slightly, but continuously, in that direction. Given the amount of surplus charge, the pull of the earth, the voltage and speed of the electrons, I believe Iíll be able to plot their paths back to the point of origin.

Having found his hidden base, an electron gun is needed to make some permanent changes, and return the natural order.

Sandy Dale went into action. The snout of his queer-looking machine pointed straight for the cavern opening. It was simple in construction. Two upright tubes of heavy quartz filled with helium, a highly compact electrostatic machine for generating continuous streams of electrons from the helium gas; and an impulse-breaker for emitting them in surges.

The helium glowed into incandescence; the hum of the machine grew to a piercing shriek. The air along the path of the streaming particles glittered with fine pin points of flame. The hurtling electrons crashed with inconceivable velocity into the circling positrons. Positive and negative coalesced and vanished into the substratum of the cosmos. A blinding flare of radiation marked the disappearance.


(Electron gun from 'The Great Thirst' by Nat Schachner)

The great concave arch of the protective curtain took form and visibility as a huge bending sheet of flame, A gasp of astonishment went up from the bewildered troops. The colonelís mouth was agape. Sandy grinned and set the machine up a notch. The whine became almost unbearable. The curtain of fire pushed in as though it were an elastic ball, but still it did not break.

From The Great Thirst, by Nat Schachner.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1934
Additional resources -

As usual, though, more power carries the day!

See also contraterrene matter from Collision Orbit (1942) by Jack Williamson.

Thanks to @MrBeamJockey for tweeting about this classic story.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Great Thirst
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner
  Tech news articles related to The Great Thirst
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner

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