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"Modern science fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the nature of the changes that face us, the possible consequences, and the possible solutions."
- Isaac Asimov
||Footgear provides the wearer with the ability to "walk" through the air, climbing as needed.
|Manuel fastened to my feet the metal, disc-like devices I have before noted. Closer examination revealed
them to be quite broad on the bottom and punctured with
a score of small holes, containing a small compact atomic
motor that compressed the air beneath one and made it
as hard and resilient as rubber. The short metal rod
handed me was hollow, and at either end, like stoppers,
were what appeared to be sensitized plates. The rod was
fastened to the wrist by a flexible strap of metal. Three
keys, red, white and blue, were at the end of the rod nearest the wrist, and there were other devices whose function
I will describe later on.
(Air-Shoes from 'An Adventure in Time' by Flagg)
“But how do the shoes work?” I asked Manuel.
“By means of broadcast power,” he replied. "The rod Is
your pick-up instrument. I press this first red key—so.
Do you hear the vibration? Power is now being received
by radio. I press the white one. Peel the droning in
your heels ? Power is being communicated to the air-shoes.
Now if I were to press the blue button . . .”
“I would fly,” I said.
“Fly! No,” laughed Manuel. “Who said anything about
flying? You would generate beneath your feet a thousand
pounds of air-pressure to the square inch. This creates an
air road on which you walk. You can ascend any height
you please by merely stepping higher, as on stairs; to
descend, notice the white button can not only be pressed
but pushed forward in this notched groove—so. Each
notch represents a decrease of one hundred pounds in air-
pressure. There are ten notches, as you see. Thus by
lessening the air resistance beneath your feet you can descend as easily as you rise. But come! Let me illustrate
what I mean.”
I shall never forget that first lesson in aerial walking.
You can’t imagine the uneasy sensation of stepping on what
is invisible. At first I was timid and unbelievably clumsy.
In air-shoes one stepped differently, more from the hip.
An aerial walker had to learn to balance himself, to poise
the body so as to remain in an upright position. Several
times my head felt lighter than my feet; that is, my feet
went up faster than the rest of me. Once or twice my
heels shot out and heavenward, and the air-pressure would
have hurled me disastrously to earth if Manuel and others
of my instructors had not caught and held me safely.
However, I soon began to acquire the knack. The first day
I achieved a fair balance; the second, I essayed a journey
all by myself, keeping, however, close to earth; and on
the third, I was quite profloient.
|From An Adventure in Time,
by Francis Flagg.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1930
Additional resources -
How can you figure out where you are after dark?
The roofs of buildings were
designated by symbols, letters of the alphabet, and by numbers etched in glowing phosphorus; so that a citizen knew
where he was at all times and could readily locate places
in the darkness.
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