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"A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."
- Theodore Sturgeon

Gravity Web  
  Device for limiting the extent to which a person is subject to gravitational attraction.  

Nice trick, if you can do it. McKie is a BuSab operative who travels to a wide variety of planets, which undoubtedly have a wide range of gravitational field strengths.

There were times during the climb down the narrow path to the lava shelf when McKie felt thankful he had been fitted with a gravity web beneath his skin. If he fell, it would limit his rate of descent to a non-injurious speed.
Technovelgy from Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Galaxy Publishing in 1969
Additional resources -

Some science fiction ideas seem absurd. How could you limit gravity? Gravity is a (relatively) weak force, but a planet-sized mass creates a force that is difficult for us to ignore. Most of the thinking about anti-gravity takes the form of some sort of generator that creates an opposite strength field.

But radio waves can be kept out of a space that is surrounded by a metal mesh screen. What if there was some sort of mesh that would keep out gravity?

For those who think that only people who think that space aliens built the pyramids are keen on the idea of anti-gravity, consider this exerpt from a letter exchanged between noted scientists:

I always rejoice to hear of your being still employed in experimental researches into nature and of the success you meet with. The rapid progress true science now makes, occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born too soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried, in a thousand years, the power of man over matter. We may, perhaps, deprive large masses of their gravity, and give them absolute levity, for the sake of easy transport. Agriculture may diminish its labor and double its produce: all diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured, (not excepting even that of old age,) and our lives lengthened at pleasure, even beyond the antediluvian standard. Oh that moral science were in as fair a way of improvement, that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity.
(Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Priestly, 1780)

Another technovelgy worth considering is what Baron Vladimir Harkonnen uses in Frank Herbert's Dune - the suspensor. Compare to the geopeller from One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson. See also the levitator pack from Gears for Nemesis (1942) by Raymond Z. Gallun.

Here's a cartoonist's idea of what this might be like; George du Maurier created this drawing in 1879:


(Edison's Anti-Gravitation Under-Clothing)

You might be surprised how long ago the idea of weightlessness goes back.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Whipping Star
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Whipping Star
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

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Science Fiction in the News

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

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'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

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'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

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'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

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'... making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted.'

Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?
'But the stars are only atoms in larger space, and in that larger space the star-atoms could combine to form living matter, thinking matter, couldn't they?'

Microsoft VASA-1 Creates Personal Video From A Photo
'...to build up a video picture would require, say, ten million decisions every second. Mike, you're so fast I can't even think about it. But you aren't that fast.'

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